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Davies Consultancy

Wednesday 8th December 2010
Matches can?t come much bigger than this in the FA Cup sponsored by Eon 2nd Round as FC United take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the replay at Gigg Lane on Wednesday evening, kick off 7.45 pm. The weather is doing it?s best to get the game postponed but with the help of the hot air blanket on the pitch and tons of grit on the surrounding areas the Club are confident that the game will go ahead. With a record crowd expected for an FC game at Gigg Lane the red hot atmosphere promises to start an early local thaw.

After the dramatic 1 ? 1 draw in the first game at the Withdean Stadium in Brighton Margy had hoped to return to League action before the replay but postponements at home to Chasetown and away to Whitby have meant no further action for the first team. "Because of the freezing weather we?ve not had the best preparation for tonight?s game, with matches postponed and training facilities unavailable. We managed a session as normal on Monday last week but since then we?ve not been able to get on the pitch at Manchester College due to the snow and ice. That?s meant we?ve had to fit things in when we can at the JJB dome, ending up there last Thursday from 9pm - 11pm and again on Saturday lunchtime after the trip to Whitby was called off. That restricted us to a bit of fitness work and five-a-side but on Monday night we couldn?t even do that as there were no pitches available anywhere given all the outdoor ones were still out of action."

"We ended up taking the players down to Laserquest for a bit of a bonding session. We do something like that a couple of times a season to mix things up and let them have a bit of a laugh. There was a plenty of banter as you might expect, a lot of which was at my expense as I?m the worst player in the world. I?m not sure who won but there was a twelve year old kid who ended up mixed in with us on one of the teams and he hammered us all. I think he even had his own gun!"

"?It?s not ideal obviously but we?ve just got to get on with it. As long as our fitness is okay - which it should be - then on the night it?s up to us to perform. I don?t think there?ll be any shortage of motivation. Brighton are obviously a good side and showed that in the first game but we can play better than we did then. Things got a bit ragged when we went down to ten men but although we were hanging on a bit at the end I thought we were good defensively overall. It was a bit disappointing that there was only one decent bit of football from us in the first half but we scored from it and that should give us confidence.?"
"Credit to Brighton though. Gus Poyet?s come in for some criticism for making seven changes but I wish I could make seven changes and still be that good. He showed belief in the players in his squad and believes they are good enough to win. Many of them will be hoping to be making the step up to the Championship next season so he should be within his rights to put them in for such a game. We?ve now played two League One teams in recent weeks and there was a bit of a gulf in class between the two. That?s no disrespect to Rochdale but there?s a reason Brighton are at the top of their division."

"It?s going to be very difficult for us again on Wednesday but we?re obviously in with a shout. We?ve got the underdog?s chance and as I said before the last round, if they have an off day and we?re on our game then anything can happen. The important thing is for our lads to enjoy it as nights like this won?t come along very often. I?m extremely proud of them all in the way that they?ve approached everything of late, and taken on board what we?ve told them. They?ve got to rise to the occasion again as many won?t have seen Gigg Lane like it will be on Wednesday ? I?m sure the atmosphere will be something else and we?ve got to use that to our advantage"

"Another problem the weather?s given us is that Wright and McManus will miss out tonight due to suspensions for reaching five bookings that would have been served but for the postponements. It?s a big blow for them but both will be there to support their team-mates who are involved. Obviously McManus got a red card in the first game as well and he?ll be getting another ban for that. We?ve no complaints about the referee?s decision but won?t be hanging the lad for it. It?s one for him to learn from and as long as he does then we?ll be there to support him. Martin Parker will come in at centre-half and I thought he did really well in difficult circumstances when he was brought on at the Withdean. Meanwhile Lee Neville and Ludovic Quistin are both playing again after injuries so are back in contention."

"Our support in the first game was absolutely unbelievable. Sussex police said it?s the best atmosphere they?ve witnessed down there and that?s a credit to everyone who went. That?s what it?s all about as we?ve done brilliantly to get where we are. The players have ?swum the Channel? as they say, and whatever the result on Wednesday I?m sure you?ll all show your appreciation of their efforts. All they can do is go out and give their best. As long as that?s the case they?ll all get a pat on the back from me."

FC's twelfth man

Tickets for the Brighton game will continue to be sold from the ticket office at Gigg Lane on Wednesday, the day of the game, from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.

All tickets have been sold for the Main Stand and the Manchester Road End and there will be no pay on the gate (POTG) in these areas on the night. There are approximately 200 tickets still available for the Cemetery End which are expected to be sold before kick off. If you want the pleasure of being able to sing ?We are the Dead End and we?re louder than you!? then get along to the Gigg Lane ticket office as soon as possible.

Approximately 200 tickets have been sold for the South Stand and POTG will be available on the night. However, please get there early to avoid disappointment and to make sure you don?t miss the kick off.

In the excitement of the FA Cup, and television appearances itís easy to forget the most important project still occupying most of the time behind the scenes at the FC offices. With formal planning permission being granted on the the ground development at Ten Acres Lane on 25th November the only remaining obstacle in our path is funding.

Take up of the Community Share Scheme is progressing well with investments received of £830,000 and further pledge amounts of £250,000. This is a tremendous response, however, there is still a long way to go to reach our target of £1.5 million and all supporters are urged to do what they can to help us get there.

If you are still thinking about investing but havenít yet done so then please twist your own arm and send in your forms and money. The offer period has been extended to 28th February 2011 and for those who have already invested it is possible to pay in a further top up. Finally, make sure you tell anyone and everyone about what we are trying to do Ė every little helps. Full details and forms at www.fc-utd.co.uk/communityshares.

Get yourself to that football ground. FC United V Brighton and Hove Albion, FA Cup sponsored by Eon, 2nd Round Replay, Gigg Lane, Wednesday 8th December, kick off 7.45 pm.

Biggest Game

Wednesday sees what will undoubtedly be FC Unitedís biggest game in the FA Cup second round replay with Brighton, which is kind of ironic seeing as Brightonís biggest game was in the FA Cup final in 1983 against Manchester United.

The Seagulls came into that game knowing they had been relegated from the first division that season to face Ron Atkinsonís men who had themselves finished third. But The Seagulls had already put out Newcastle, Man City, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday and league champions Liverpool to reach the Wembley showpiece.

The Seagulls took the game to United from the beginning and amazingly took the lead after 14 minutes when Gordon Smith headed them in front.

This was a well deserved lead that The Seagulls held until the second half when Frank Stapleton levelled for the Reds before Ray Wilkins fired in from 20 yards out to give the favourites the lead, and seemingly put one hand on the trophy.

But Brighton wouldnít lie down and took the FA Cup final to extra time for the third consecutive year when Gary Stevens levelled the tie with four minutes to go, meaning the capacity crowd of 92,000 were in for 30 minutes more action.

Brighton came close to winning the game in extra time when the famous line "Ö and Smith must score" was uttered by commentator Peter Jones as Gordon Smith looked nailed on to score but scuffed the opportunity to put The Seagullsí name on the famous trophy for the first time. Incidentally, Brightonís fanzine is named ĎAnd Smith Must Scoreí after that very incident.

United escaped the final with a 2-2 draw knowing they had come close to losing out to The Seagulls, but were more aware of their threat in the replay the following Thursday as they came out and won the game 4-0 with two goals from Bryan Robson, one by a young Norman Whiteside before Arnold Mķhren slotted home a spot kick after an hour to give Ron Atkinsonís men the trophy.

Brighton fans still refer to the day as Ďthe biggestí in the clubs history, but speaking in Four Four Two this month Manager Gus Poyet insists heís not a manager to look at the past but insists he wants to write his own history at the club. "I come from a place where we won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950 and we didnít stop talking about it for fifty years, I really didnít like that. Football has changed and we have to move on. Here it is the same, letís try to get to the final and win it this time!"

The only problem for Poyet is that he has to get past FC first, a team with over 6,000 people acting as an extra man on Wednesday evening, in what ironically is the biggest game in our history.


This Seasonís Big Coat Day January 3rd vs Ashton United

Last year the impact of the cold winter months on the North West took someoneís life every half hour. FC United of Manchesterís decision to organise the Big Coat Day collection of warm winter clothing at its New Year fixture proved timely. The winter saw the worst ice and snow in almost 40 years. However a fantastic response from the public and FC fans alike saw a 4 ton wall of winter clothing collected to keep the poor and needy warm around the city.

"We are really grateful for Big Coat Day. The two collections produced some very good quality coats and jackets, and now many of the poorest people in Manchester can see out the winter in warmth and comfort."
Dave Smith, Director, Boaz Trust

The coming winter presents us with a new challenge so we hope that supporters can help us make a difference by actively supporting Big Coat Day 2011, which will be around the local derby fixture with Ashton United. If you can organise collections of warm winter clothing in your workplaces and get them brought to Gigg Lane, then we can help save lives. If you wish to help out with any of the promotion of the event please contact vinnythompson@fc-utd.co.uk.

The Big Issue is supporting Big Coat Day, along with our charity partners: Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust.

"Big Coat Day may have started in 2005 as a bit of fun to show we had reached our first Xmas, and it still is fun. But it is also an important statement showing that our supporters continue to care for all our community."
Andy Walsh, FC General Manager

How Big Coat Day 2010 Beat the Big Freeze

Despite being hampered by snowdrifts and roads more treacherous than icebergs, the public responded magnificently by donating four tons of winter clothing for the homeless and needy. Even though the designated FC fixture was called off the previous day MPs, local councillors, representatives of workplaces, schools, community centres, religious groups and FC United fans from as far away as Scotland and Shropshire struggled through the ice and snow to get to Gigg Lane in Bury to deliver their spare clothing. Homeless charities, Mustard Tree, the Boaz Trust and the Salvation Army were on hand to collect the clothing for distribution to the homeless and needy around the city.

Former Old Trafford hero, Lee Sharpe, promised to donate as did comedians, John Henshaw and Justin Moorhouse, Hollyoaksís actor, Carley Stenson and James Nesbitt.

"Big Coat Day may have started in 2005 as a bit of fun to show we had reached our first Xmas, and it still is fun. But it is also an important statement showing that our supporters continue to care for all our community."
Andy Walsh, FC General Manager