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FA Cup v Rochdale - date and time announcement

We would like to advise supporters that our FA Cup 1st Round Proper tie against Rochdale will take place on Friday 5th November, kick off 7.45pm

On the morning after our victory over Barrow (Monday 25th October), the Club was informed by Rochdale AFC that the FA had contacted them to say that ESPN had requested our game be shown live on their channel on the evening of Friday November 5th. Each club will be paid £67 500 for the game to be shown, a sum of money undoubtedly valuable to both clubs. We were asked by Rochdale if we had any opposition to the game being switched. It was reassuring to learn that such a switch is not enforced by broadcasters and that we had a choice, but nonetheless this presented us with an immediate decision to make.

We recognise that playing such a high-profile, important game on a Friday evening is not ideal, not least of all for those supporters who live outside of the Greater Manchester area. It is an unfortunate consequence of our democracy that any decision the Board takes will not always meet with the approval of every FC United supporter as there are a wide range of circumstances and opinions to take into account, not all of which can be represented by the final decision. However, by accepting this offer the Board feels they have acted in the best interests of the Club as a whole, both in the immediate and long term, as it increases awareness of what we’re doing in Newton Heath and removes some of the enormous pressures of running a football club whilst playing at Gigg Lane.

In reaching this decision the Board took into account a number of factors including the financial incentive, the impact on the team, the overriding goal of reaching Ten Acres Lane, and most of all the impact on supporters.

With these considerations in mind the crucial factor which guided the Board towards the final decision was the previously held members vote on FA Cup participation. At this meeting members voted for the Club to enter the FA Cup on the precondition that progression into the 1st round proper and beyond may invite offers to play our games live on television. It was the view of the Board that this ‘yes’ vote constituted a steer to consider this offer from ESPN. Of course we had the power to decline their offer, but in the absence of any overwhelming opposition when the issue was debated, the Board felt we had a mandate to accept.

The Board always strives to avoid making unilateral decisions and always acts in the interests and according to the wishes of its members. We believe we have again done so, but of course the beauty of our democratic structure ensures that if there is opposition to this decision then members can submit resolutions on future participation, votes can be taken and any future decision be influenced accordingly.

That democratic input should be cherished and held dear by all members, because as much as the decisions themselves it was the lack of a voice, a lack of an influence in decision-making that led to the disillusionment of many before our formation. FC United members will always have that voice and can therefore continue to make strategic decisions and dictate the direction of our club.

We would also like to advise supporters that Rochdale, mindful of the effect it may have on both clubs’ revenue, asked us if we had any opposition to prices being lowered from their usual prices of £20 for adults and £14 for concessions to £12 for adults, £8 for concessions and £5 for under 16’s. We had no hesitation in accepting this fantastic gesture, which helps us to meet our constitutional aim of providing affordable football for match going fans.

We hope that as many people as possible can make it to Spotland for what will be the biggest game in the Club’s history. Regardless of the result, the impact of this fantastic run in the FA Cup will be felt long after the final whistle on November 5th and evidenced in our onward march to Ten Acres Lane, Newton Heath.

The Board of FC United of Manchester.

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First Posted ~ 15:43 Tue 26 Oct 2010
News ID ~ 3185
Last Updated ~ 15:43 Tue 26 Oct 2010