FC United of Manchester
FC United of Manchester
FC United of Manchester
Thank You Karl Marginson - Forever in Blue Jeans
From everyone at FC United, we’d like to say a huge thank you to Karl Marginson, who left the club on Tuesday 24th October after 12 years in charge – In this article we look back over Karl’s time in charge and his achievements at the club.
Karl Marginson was appointed manager of FC United within days of the club being established in the summer of 2005 and has been at the helm ever since. In his first three seasons, Karl led FC United to three successive promotions, and after four consecutive defeats in the Northern Premier League play-offs, Margy finally secured automatic promotion to the National League North in 2014/15.
In 2010 he guided the team to a famous 3-2 win over Rochdale in the FA Cup first round, only to be knocked out by Brighton in a replay in the second round at Gigg Lane in front of a club record crowd of 6,721.
From the very first FC United match away at Leigh RMI on 16th July 2005 Karl managed a total of 776 matches (including friendlies), winning 397, drawing 147 and losing 232, with 1594 goals for and 1054 against. He gave 249 players the opportunity to pull on the red shirt of FC United.
In his time at FC United, we were champions of North West Counties Division 1 and 2 in 2006 and 2007, won the North West Counties Challenge Cup in 2007 and The Northern Premier League Presidents Cup in 2008. In 2015 we were crowned champions of the Northern Premier League and last season won the Manchester Premier Cup.
In our first season of in the National League North and the first season in our new home at Broadhurst Park, Karl, who was now well known for looking ‘very casual’ in his famous blue jeans in the dugout, led the team to a very respectable 13th place together with guiding the team to the 1st Round of the FA Cup. Last season, despite a stuttering start where we picked up 14 points from our first 14 games, Karl led the club to 13th position again.
This season with a much changed squad, but ambitions of finishing in the top 10, FC United have struggled. With a third of the season gone (14 games), we find ourselves 2nd from bottom in the league on just 11 points, picking up just 4 point in our last 7 league games.
On Tuesday 24th October, it was announced that Karl Marginson would be leaving the club, with immediate effect. Both the club board and Karl Marginson have agreed that this is the right course of action in the best interests of both parties.
One of Karl’s best signings, Tom Greaves, who has played 240 times, scoring 97 goals for the club, will take temporary charge of the first team until a new permanent first team manager is appointed.
Karl said “to manage this football club has been a privilege and an honour, so it’s a very sad day for me to be leaving. What we’ve achieved on and off the pitch over the last twelve years has been brilliant - it’s a special football club and one that will always hold a place in my heart. I will always be a supporter of the club. I’d like to wish everyone at the club and its supporters all the very best for the future”.
Born in 1970, United fan Karl was brought up in Ancoats, just three miles from FC United’s ground in Moston. At the age of 16, he was a trainee at Stockport County at a time when the Youth Training Scheme was being introduced at football clubs. His Dad however had other ideas and was keen for his son to get a ‘proper job’. So instead of furthering his footballing career with other trainees at Stockport he found himself making clocks in Ancoats and playing for a pub team in Rusholme.
With ambitions of still becoming a professional footballer, Karl had trials at Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool and whilst at Blackpool he played in the FA Youth Cup under the first team manager at the time, Sam Ellis. At half-time, Ellis laid into Blackpool’s number 4 for not being tough enough. Margy felt sorry for this player, but then realised it was he who was wearing the number 4 shirt. Karl took the comments on board, and in a bid to toughen himself up he went to play for a Droylsden-based Sunday League side that had a reputation for being quite physical.
Karl, who by then had become a milkman, went onto play for Curzon Ashton before moving to Ashton United in 1990 where he played 146 times, scoring 62 goals over a three year period.
At the age of 23, now married with a young child, he finally achieved his ambition of becoming a professional footballer when he signed for Rotherham United, who were then playing in the third tier of English League football. But despite being at the South Yorkshire club for more than two years, he played only 15 games. After suffering a bad injury he was sent on loan to Macclesfield and went on to play for them on a permanent basis.
After a spell at Chorley, he played for Barrow in 1997, where he scored the winning goal to clinch the title and promotion to the Conference against nearest rivals Boston United. By that time Karl had also switched jobs and was now delivering fruit and vegetables instead of milk.
After leaving Barrow in 1999, Karl had spells with Stalybridge, Hyde, Salford and Radcliffe Borough before a succession of injuries forced him to think about hanging up his boots. At the end of the 2004/05 season he wondered what the future may hold.
At the same time as many Manchester United fans were also contemplating their future following Malcolm Glazer’s takeover of their Club. After the idea of creating a new football club was floated in the United fanzine Red Issue, a group of fans met in a curry house in Rusholme where the idea of FC United was finally conceived. Within weeks the club was established, and with the aim of getting a team ready for the new season in the North West Counties League, the search for a manager and players began.
Future FC United striker Joz Mitten suggested Karl as a potential manager to FC United’s steering group and after a phone call by Joz and subsequent meetings with the members of the steering group, Karl, with no previous managerial experience, was named as FC United’s on 22nd June 2005.
In an early documentary, about FC United, BBC North West followed Margy on his early morning fruit and veg rounds and it wasn’t long before the FC United fans were singing songs about Margy’s van being full of fruit and ‘He sells asparagus’.
A couple of years later, Karl was able to give up his fruit and veg job to work at Manchester College as part of a partnership with FC United’s communities team where he would assist in football coaching and personal development of young people aged 16-19. He would later take up the full-time role of Head of Football at FC United.
He did have a very brief footballing come back in coming on as a substitute for FC United in our final league match 2006/07 season. The picture tells its own story.
On behalf of everyone associated with FC United, we’d like to say a huge thanks to Karl for everything he has achieved over the last 12 years and wish him well for the future. It goes without saying that Karl will always be welcome at this football club and we look forward to seeing him back at Broadhurst Park.