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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can you believe it, FC's 5th season in existance, it really has flown by.



www.fc-utd.co.uk

FC United of Manchester is different from the vast majority of football clubs in England because it is owned by its membership. That principle, which is enshrined in our constitution, means it can never be bought by an individual or a company, but is fully owned and run by our supporters.

We strongly believe that all football clubs should be owned and controlled by fans and we hope our club demonstrates a good example of how it can be successfully achieved. Therefore, we’d like to encourage everyone who agrees with our aims and ethos to join us as a member. So if you’re not a current member, why not sign up today?

By putting supporters at the heart of our club, we’re showing that fans can have a powerful say in the way football should be run. The more members we have, the louder our collective voice will be. We may be four years old this summer but it’s never too late to join us.

Successful clubs like FC Barcelona are organised on the same democratic ownership basis so great things can be achieved by supporter run clubs. It may take us time to get the 100,000 plus members that Barca have but ‘from the smallest acorns’ and all that.

All money raised by FC United from membership fees is reinvested in the club, providing services for members and carrying out a variety of development work in the local community and beyond. No ‘fat cats’ or shareholders get any of our members’ money and FC United is a not for profit organisation.

Our members vote on all the important decisions which affect the club – ticket and membership prices, who sits on the Board and how often we change our playing strip and even what it should look like when we do. We don’t pick the team though, we leave that up to our manager and three promotions in our first three years seems to suggest he knows what he’s doing.

By contributing through an annual membership fee - just £10 for adults and £3 for juniors – members are contributing not only to the club and its future, but also to our vision of changing the way football is run and returning it into the hands of ordinary fans. Members also have an equal share in ownership of the club. That’s not bad; you could co-own a football club for a tenner.

It’s easy to become a member and you can do it today by e-mailing [email protected] or by sending a cheque payable to FC United to:
Membership, FC United of Manchester, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard St., Manchester, M4 7JA.

Or you can join online at http://fc-utd.co.uk/shop/


Season Tickets

The Board is excited to announce a radical new campaign in which you can decide how much you pay for your own season ticket this summer.

At this stage in our development we need to recognise some important facts:
• Due to the costs of hiring playing facilities the club has made an operating loss over the past two years – we have been able to sustain this thanks to donations and original pledges
• Further cost-cutting measures will be implemented over the course of the next year, but there is a limit to how far these can go.
• We cannot continue to incur losses, especially as we need to demonstrate the club’s financial viability as we work towards our own ground in the near future
• We need to raise more revenue but we don’t want to do this by imposing unilateral ticket price increases – particularly in the current economic climate and in keeping with our philosophy of providing affordable football.

In light of this, FC United would like to become, to the best of our knowledge, the first club to say to supporters: “you decide how much you can individually afford and the value you place on being able to watch your team”.

It should be noted that with the average season ticket price of about £140 last year, we still made a financial loss and therefore supporters may wish to consider this when choosing how much to donate. Some supporters may be able to pay more than £140, some supporters may only be able to afford less than last year’s figure, but together there is no reason why we cannot increase revenue from this source.

Supporters will understand that we cannot afford to give season tickets away and like all clubs we need a degree of security so a minimum price for adults of £90 will be asked, though if anyone finds themselves in particular circumstances that they cannot afford that amount, they are free to contact the club to discuss the matter.

However we would ask supporters that when you are deciding what you can afford it is important to use last season’s average price of £140 as a barometer of affordability rather than the £90 figure.

Accordingly, rather than set a target of numbers of season tickets sold, the board has set a cash target of £125,000 from the season ticket campaign.

This is an ambitious target, significantly up on last year’s budget, but not an impossible one. We raised even more than that once before with the pledges. There is no reason why we can’t do it again.

Jules Spencer spoke on behalf of the board:

“We believe this is unprecedented in football, a club saying to its supporters “pay what you can afford”. Some may question whether we’re being foolhardy, but why shouldn’t we trust supporters?

“This is about empowerment, of collective responsibility, of us all pulling together to ensure the club’s future. It’s about recognising some may not be able to afford last season’s prices, but some will be able to afford more.”

Season tickets cover 21 league games but not cup or playoff games.

In effect concession season tickets for Over 60s/the unwaged have been scrapped as the minimum price for all adults is less than last season’s concession price. Those supporters in this category are invited to make a donation, if affordable, along with all other adults. It is proposed that Under 18 season tickets will remain at £21.

An evaluation of the proposal will be made in one month’s time, after which the Board will discuss both the viability of the proposal and next season’s pay on the day gate prices.

Season Tickets can be purchased at http://fc-utd.co.uk/shop/.

The Trophy Cabinet so far

NW Counties Div 2 2006


Supporters Direct Trophy 2006


NW Counties Div 1 2007


NW Counties Challenge Cup 2007


Unibond Presidents Cup 2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Newsquest Cup

Bury have agreed to play a friendly against FC United on Wednesday 29 July in what will be the final game of the Newsquest Cup. We expect this to be a fitting finale to the tournament with the possibility that silverware will be up for grabs.

In order to accommodate the game against Bury, Radcliffe have agreed to bring our match against them forward one day to Monday 27 July.

The fixture against Bury will be their home game in the tournament, so we will once again experience being the away club in our familiar home ground of Gigg Lane.

The full programme for the tournament will be:
Mon 13 July, Radcliffe v Bury, k.o. 7.30pm
Mon 27 July, FC United v Radcliffe, k.o. 7.45pm (designated our ’home’ game, but to be played at Radcliffe’s Stainton Park)
Wed 29 July, Bury v FC United, k.o. 7.45pm


Further information about the tournament and our games will be posted nearer the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
FC Shortlisted

FC United fans will be proud to learn that our club has been shortlisted for the 2009 Promotion of Co-operative Values and Principles award

This national Co-operative Excellence award identifies an individual or enterprise that has made a significant attempt to further understanding of the co-operative model through the promotion of co-operative values and principles.

An independent judging panel, will decide the individuals or co-operative businesses most deserving of greater recognition for the work that they do promoting co-operatives and the values of co-operation.

The, winners will be announced on Saturday 27 June at the Co‑operatives 2009 conference in Windsor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
www.fc-utd.co.uk

Football Supporters' Federation Awards 2009

The Football Supporters’ Federation Awards 2009 took place at the weekend and whilst the winners picked up their gongs, FC United received a special mention for our new season ticket price policy.

The FSF, which is the national supporters’ organisation with a membership of more than 140,000, awards prizes each year in three categories; Services to Supporters, Football Writer of the Year and Fans’ Publication of the Year. The winners were human rights organisation Liberty, Guardian journalist David Conn and Stoke City fanzine ‘The Oatcake’.

Liberty received its award for sterling work in obtaining redress for the Stoke City and Plymouth supporters who had been prevented from attending their games by what has been accepted by police as unlawful use of Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act.

Conn scooped the writer award for the third time, receiving nominations from the FSF’s membership and newspaper sports editors. Particular mention was made of his coverage of the ongoing fight for justice of the Hillsborough families and of his comparison of the ownership structures of this year’s Champions League finalists.

Chair of the awards panel, Ian Todd, commented: “Although there is no specific award for club good practice, we were pleased to commend Burnley Football Club who, on promotion to the Premier League, have promised to refund the season ticket cost of those season ticket holders from last season who had renewed by a specific deadline.”

And he added: “There was also recognition of the initiative of FC United of Manchester, who have given their fans the right to choose the amount they will pay for their season tickets in the coming season.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Crain's Manchester Business

Co-op trophy for FC United

FC United of Manchester won the award for promotion of co-operative values and principles at the inaugural Co-operative Excellence awards.

The club, set up by fans opposed to the 2005 takeover of the club by Florida-based businessman Malcolm Glazer and his family, is run on co-operative lines.

Ben Reid, chair of Co-operativesUK, said: “FC United of Manchester set out to be a supporter run football club that works with the community, and that is exactly what they have achieved. They are worthy of this award for all they have done to forward understanding of co-operation and co operative values and principles.”

Phil Sheeran, one of 11 directors of FC United who are directly elected by the membership, said: “FC United of Manchester is proud to be constituted as a co-operative in the world of sport and we are very grateful to Co-operativesUK for recognising the club's work and honouring us with this prestigious award.

“Volunteer-led sports clubs provide the backbone of sporting provision in the UK; it is the work undertaken by these mutual organisations and co-operatives that embodies the founding principles and values of the co-operative movement.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bucheon FC 1995 expect 20,000 at Korean Friendly v FC United

We are finally able to confirm Bucheon FC 1995 as the team we are playing in Korea Republic (South Korea) on Saturday 18 July.
Bucheon FC 1995 have announced the game formally and sent us the links (see below) but unfortunately they are all in Korean and Babelfish can only do so much. What is clear is that this is a big game for them and they have told us they are expecting a crowd of up to 20,000!

There certainly seems to be a lot of anticipation among their supporters and a translation of their fans site at http://www.bucheonfc.net/ appears to say:
"World Football Game Dream Match 2009 - Bucheon’s first wish will finally come true. Spectators in the stadium filled with a similar story with us and with a foreign football team to play. July 18 our hope is real."

This is an amazing opportunity for FC United and we’re honoured to be able to feature in a game against a fans-owned club with similar founding principles to our own. Bucheon FC 1995 were formed in 2007 when their club Bucheon SK was taken over, moved to an island off the south coast and had their name changed to Jeju United. Not surprisingly, with a story like that, Bucheon FC 1995 have forged a friendship with AFC Wimbledon and it’s through that link we received this invitation.

We know that not many people will be able to travel to Korea to see this game, which is why we ran a competition for a club member to travel with the team. We’ll try to keep you in touch with the trip via this site and we hope everyone will share the pride the team feels at being invited to play in such a prestigious international friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Manchester Business

FC United Picked for Community Bond Fundraising Project

Fans’ football club FC United of Manchester is one of five community-owned enterprises selected for a government-funded research project into community shares and bonds.

The successful projects will receive a package of funding and consultancy to help them raise more than £10,000 by selling securities to at least twenty people to finance community ventures.

Hugh Rolo, head of assets and investment at the Development Trusts Association (DTA), which is helping to deliver the project, said there was huge potential for using community investment to raise capital rather than increasing the level of debt and risk.

He added: “An increasing number of communities are finding that local people also like the direct proposition of investing in something they can see, touch and benefit from.”

The project is supported Office of the Third Sector’s Social Enterprise Action Learning Fund, the Department for Communities and Local Government is leading an action learning research programme in the field of community shares and bonds. The research programme is being delivered by the DTA and Co-operativesUK, in conjunction with the UK Social Return on Investment network (SROI).

The other four projects chosen are Cybermoor in Alston, Cumbria; Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust; Ashington Community Development Trust, Northumberland; and Slaithwaite Cooperative Ltd (Grocery store), Colne Valley, near Huddersfield.

Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-operativesUK, said: “Community investment is about community engagement and this is at the core of the co operative way of business as demonstrated by our members. For example, The Phone Co-op has 6,735 members who have over £1.6m in their share accounts and, in December 2008, local people in Settle in Yorkshire raised £100,000 through a share issue to build a mini hydro-electric scheme in their town. I think other communities will want to follow their example.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
www.fc-utd.co.uk

£100k passed - But that's not the whole story

With several weeks to go before the season starts, Season Ticket pledges have passed the £100,000 mark as we aim to hit at least £125000 in sales. But the board have been quick to stress that it’s not just about increasing revenue.

"It looks like we’re on track to hit or pass the target we set at the start of the summer which is very encouraging but it’s not just about the money.

"The key principle behind the idea was to fulfil our pledge to provide affordable and accessible football - and one measure of that is the number of tickets that are bought. Numbers on this front are also encouraging, ahead of the numbers sold this time last year.

"However, there are still a few hundred supporters who held season tickets last season who haven’t yet renewed, so we would encourage those supporters to renew as soon as they can. We want all our supporters to be able to afford to come to our games.”
 

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Hmmm... I just knew it wouldn't be long before it became tainted with filthy lucre...

One day FC United will be playing in a 76,000 seat stadium and be owned by 3,000 shareholders and a family of Jewish Americans...;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/jul/16/fc-united-manchester-south-korea

"Now 'the other United' target Asia

The supporters-run FC United of Manchester are playing in South Korea in the same week as the Premier League champions

In the huge Homeplus supermarket inside Seoul's World Cup stadium, a middle-aged woman pays for her shopping with a Manchester United credit card, one of 1.2m such pieces of plastic in South Korea. The woman is one of an estimated six million Red Devils in the Land of the Morning Calm which is why, on 24 July, the Premier League champions will be in action just a few dozen feet away against FC Seoul in the third of four matches of their 2009 Asian tour.

It is a 64,000 sell-out with 20,000 tickets being snapped up inside the first hour. This is United's fifth such tour in the past decade. For Asian fans, seeing the team these days is not unusual. But on 18 July, another Manchester team has a friendly in South Korea. FC United of Manchester are playing the third division club Bucheon 1995. The prospect is an intriguing one.

For FC United, formed in 2005 after the Malcolm Glazer takeover by disaffected Manchester United fans and now playing in the seventh-tier mouthful that is the Northern Premier League Premier Division, pre-season Asian exhibitions are the kinds of things that Glazer would approve of. But FC United deny that the match with fellow fan-operated team Bucheon 1995 is like "Big United's" tour.

"I think the reasons for our respective trips are a little different," the FC United spokesman, Julian Spencer, said. "Most clubs visit the far east to 'promote the brand', they are trips exclusively designed to make money. We want to show that this 'model' of how to structure a football club has worldwide merit. Also we want to give our players an opportunity of a lifetime to play overseas in front of what we hope will be a large, noisy, passionate local support."

It should be that, as long as Korea's rainy season, currently in full flow, doesn't put a dampener on proceedings. Bucheon, with players named Park Ji-sung and Kaka, look good on paper and the 20-25,000 fans should certainly sound good. And while it may not be broadcast on primetime network television like the other match, it has been widely promoted and FC United's match will be shown live on one of the country's biggest sports cable networks and on outdoor screens in nearby Seoul.

The Red Rebels have come a long way from setting up their club amid the feeling that Manchester United were being taken away from their traditional fanbase. It was not just a feeling among Bucheon supporters – it was a cold, hard fact. The Koreans woke up one morning in February 2006 to find that their club had been relocated overnight. Then, top-flight SK Bucheon FC were preparing for another season when SK Energy, the oil-arm of SK, one of South Korea's largest conglomerates and one of a number of businesses to own Korean teams, suddenly moved the team 300 miles south to the island of Jeju to occupy the last vacant 2002 World Cup stadium.

"When SK did that, we felt that our family had abandoned us. We couldn't believe it," said Bucheon 1995's unpaid marketing manager, Shin Dong-min. In response, Bucheon fans formed their own team and are now in South Korea's third tier – the K3 league. It has taken money to do so, much of which came from a sponsorship deal with SK Telecom. The same company is also footing the bill for this friendly, although Bucheon had to compete against other parties for the opportunity.

As part of a nationwide marketing campaign roughly translated as "make your dreams come true", people were invited to ask SK to do just that. The female high school students who wanted a famous boy band to become their teachers for a day were disappointed as these corporate Jimmy Savilles plumped for Bucheon's idea. Originally AFC Wimbledon were the desired opposition. The Londoners were busy, leaving, in the words of Shin, just "one other club that fit the bill".

"At first, we thought it was a joke," said FC United's general manager, Andy Walsh, at a pre-match press conference in Seoul today attended by more than 40 reporters and several television crews. "We heard about it from AFC Wimbledon but Ivor Heller [commercial director] there has a reputation for practical jokes so we phoned someone else there to find out if it was true. The board then discussed with the manager to see if it was something he wanted to do as part of a pre-season training. He was very positive and we are very honoured to be here."

Bucheon are also honoured. They are also too excited to dwell on where the money that is funding the game comes from. "I admit that it is strange that after what happened in 2006, SK are paying but there are many arms of SK," Shin said. "The company that managed and moved Bucheon SK was SK Energy. SK Telecom is a different company and these days are keen to help grassroots football. It doesn't matter what level we play at, we just want our own club to cheer. If the devil offered money, we would take it."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
www.fc-utd.co.uk

Korea trip - the story so far

After an exhausting flight half way around the world, the FC United team, officials and fans finally landed in South Korea at about 7am (11pm UK time) and, after a brief rest and brush up, some were whisked off to a press conference to launch the trip officially.

On the table were Andy Walsh (General Manager), Team Manager Karl Marginson and players Sam Ashton and Jerome Wright as well as players and officials from Bucheon FC.

We will try to keep this piece up to date with the latest happenings as they, er..., happen.

Craig Phillips provides a preview of the match below:

After Saturday’s success for the ‘All stars’ team in Leek, FC United begin their pre-season campaign for real in a very different location as they take on Korean side; Bucheon 1995.

Margy has named a strong squad with a good mixture of freshness, youth and experience as United make the trip east for Saturday’s game.

One of those names in the squad is Ben Deegan who signed over the summer from Ashton United and managed to bag himself a second half hat-trick on his debut against Leek as he looks to fill the void left by Kyle Wilson; who was snapped up by Macclesfield Town at the end of last season.

Saturday’s match is a great opportunity to take FC United around the world and face another club who were formed in similar circumstances to our own formation.

Bucheon 1995 were officially formed on 1 December 2007 but the wheels had been set in motion almost two years before this as fans looked to take a stand against their top flight club, Bucheon SK, being moved 300 miles south to the island of Jeju-do to occupy the last vacant 2002 World Cup stadium.

Bucheon fans couldn’t believe their club was being uprooted and so decided to form their own club and the idea that eventually became Bucheon 1995 was put into motion.

Initial sights were set on joining the Korean National League for the 2007 season but strict financial regulations of the league meant that this had to be re-assessed and the club opted to work towards joining the K3 league for the 2008 season.

The club received financial sponsorships and indeed got enough backing to be formed for the 2008 season and in October 2007 it was officially announced that the team would be known as Bucheon 1995.

Saturday’s game has been labelled as the “World Football Dream Match” by our hosts and they hope to have around 20,000 fans inside the stadium on to see the two clubs play.

Notable names on the Bucheon squad list include Park Ji-Sung (not that one) and Kaka (who actually comes from Congo and not Brazil). Joking aside though, the game should be a great footballing occasion and those lucky enough to be out there will sample a great atmosphere of two football clubs with values and principles.

This is usually the point where we encourage you to get down to that football ground but obviously if you’re not already there or planning to go, Korea is a bit far to go on the spur of the moment.

Supporters can listen to the match on FCUM Radio from 10am on Saturday via the website as United look to get into their stride before the big kick off against Boston on 15 August.
 

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Good grief. A non-league club on a far-east tour.

This is where it all starts, the shirt sponsors, TV deals etc.

I wonder if any of the fans could afford to go to Korea?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good grief. A non-league club on a far-east tour.

This is where it all starts, the shirt sponsors, TV deals etc.

I wonder if any of the fans could afford to go to Korea?
Ha! Good grief indeed Miles.

The big difference between this match and your typical Premiership club tour is that we're going as an act of friendship, not for promoting a brand (we have an internet radio station for that :lol:), nor for that matter are we cashing in in anyway shape or form.

As a co-owner at first I too was dubious about this match, you're right that not many round here can afford the trip, getting to Bury is hard enough. We have of course played in Germany and Sweden before, but they're not so out of reach..... But gradually as I have learnt more about this trip I get why we're there. I am proud as hell that my club has been asked and funded to go over and play in this "friendly", a term which is certainly appropriate here.

This at the end of the day is a match against one of the leading lights of supporter ownership in Asian football, they idolise FC and Wimbledon, this match is apparently going to be well attended tomorrow, our players and club will have never experienced anything like it. For those left behind, we'll all be tuning in tomorrow to fcumradio.co.uk to listen to one of the most flattering moments in our history so far.


Have a look at these anyway, see if they help.

Korea - The arrival
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUBR8CtHvPU

Coach singalong and stadium
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn9-ulXMKm0

Training.......and more singing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vktjZqzzhlc

The sights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX8D1c64v5c
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Joongang Daily

Supporter-owned Teams Meet for Historic Match

July 21, 2009



FC United, on the left in blue, and Bucheon FC, on the right in red, sit for a snapshot just before their game on Saturday in Bucheon, Gyeonggi. Bucheon FC and FC United played a soggy game in the rain that day that ended with a 3-0 win for Bucheon, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the players. Provided by the organizer

On Saturday night, 25,000 spectators braved the heavy rain to take in a friendly football match featuring Park Ji-sung in Bucheon, Gyeonggi. But the fans weren’t there to watch the Korean national team captain and Manchester United player. They were there to cheer on another man with the same name - a midfielder for the semiprofessional squad Bucheon FC.

This Park Ji-sung doesn’t play football full-time on a multimillion-dollar contract, like his more famous counterpart. Instead, Park spends just part of his time living out his dream of playing football and spends the rest working late shifts as a delivery man for a restaurant specializing in jokbal, or steamed ham hock.

The match - the World Football Dream Match 2009, sponsored by SK Telecom - was a historic first. It was the first meeting between Asian and Western supporter-owned teams. Teams that adhere to the supporter-owned system are semiprofessional and receive the majority of their funding from fans rather than corporate sponsorship.

The host, Bucheon FC, plays in the K3, the lowest tier in Korean football. Its opponent, FC United of Manchester, is a team in the North West Premier League Division, the seventh tier of league football in England.

“It’s an exciting experience for us. I’ve been a Bucheon supporter since the beginning but having moved to Cheonan, South Chungcheong, I couldn’t come to any games last season,” 28-year-old office worker Jung Jae-kyung said. “I’m back this year and it’s a surreal feeling as a fan to finally experience a game like this.”

With a steady rain falling throughout most of the game, Bucheon FC started strong and was ahead in the first half. The Korean team’s captain, Park Mun-ki, scored the opening goal on a header off a corner kick in the 29th minute to a roar of approval. In the second half, FC United controlled the pace of the game before allowing two late goals with less than 10 minutes remaining.

But the final score didn’t dampen the spirit of camaraderie circulating among the players. They exchanged shirts midfield and trotted to the west end of the stadium, where the Bucheon FC supporters, who call themselves the Hermes. gave both squads a round of applause.

Most of the stadium was filled with first-time visitors. A large number of fans stayed well past the final whistle.

Some gushed at the level of play and stated they would be back for more, but the most excited fans by far were the Bucheon FC supporters Approximately 300 of the 1,000 Hermes remained standing from beginning to end, chanting and cheering both teams on.

The supporters and the environment around here are great.’ Bucheon FC midfielder Kim Tae-ryu

‘Our club is about the supporters and what’s important to them.’ FC United General Manager Andy Walsh

Given that the K-League’s most popular club, Gangwon FC, averages 16,330 spectators per game, the attendance figure of 23,000 meant the match was a rousing success.

Choi Woong-yong, a 34-year-old office worker in Bucheon, shared his excitement.

“We once had a club, but we lost it,” Choi said, referring to the Bucheon SK, a professional club in the K-League that was moved to Seogwipo, Jeju in 2006. The creation of Bucheon was a direct response to this move. “Bucheon has the financial stability to support a football club. I hope we can experience many more games like this in the future.”

Bucheon FC and FC United are just two of only four football clubs in the world that are supporter-owned. The others include AFC Wimbledon and FC Yokohama.

“It wasn’t easy, we had nothing when we started off. We asked city officials for support but they weren’t willing to listen,” the team’s media relations manager Lee Yoo-guk said. “The city required us to have sponsors and that wasn’t easy. We went back and forth, bouncing between reluctant sponsors and city officials for six months until a regional politician stepped in and gave us the support we needed [in 2007].”

The club participated in its first season in the K3 in the 2008 season as the only supporter-created football club in Korean history. They finished 13th out of 15 teams with a record of seven wins, seven ties and 15 losses. The team is currently sitting in seventh place and, backed by its 1,000 supporters, clearly has its sights set on bigger goals.

Bucheon FC and FC United players have dinner together at the Mayfield Hotel in Gimpo, Gyeonggi, on Friday. Provided by Bucheon FC

“We have a 10-year plan. Within five years, we want to move up to the National League [second tier] and within 10 years, we want to be in the K-League,” Lee said.

Bucheon FC and its supporters actually got the inspiration to create the team from FC United.

FC United supporters can trace their original allegiance to Manchester United. Many Man U fans, already disgruntled with the club’s high ticket prices, walked away when Malcolm Glazer took over the club in 2005 and launched FC United as a supporter-owned club. Sticking to its founding principles, FC United lets its fans pay what they can for season tickets.

“It’s affordable for the fans and provides for a great experience. It’s not affordable to take in Premiership games anymore,” FC United supporter Mike Bibby explained.

It’s not all about representing the community and providing entertaining and affordable football for the fans. Having started in England’s lowest division, the 10th, FC United has climbed up to the seventh tier on the back of its attendance records, the strongest in the division.

The English football system has a relegation system that connects the Premiership all the way down to the 10th division. The bottom three teams are relegated to lower tiers and top three teams from the league below are promoted to replace them. The club regularly averages over 2,000 fans in a division with teams that often attract small crowds of 300.

“Our most immediate goal is to raise funds to build our own stadium and improve our community work. The amount of community work we have done has improved by as much as 150 percent over the past three years,” Walsh said.

The players that fill the Bucheon FC roster are like underdogs gnawing at a chance for redemption. There is a countless number of players who, like Park Ji-sung, sacrifice their time and energy for the chance to play football. They’re a throwback to an era when representing the community and having the opportunity to play the game with passion meant more to players than inflated salaries, egos and the ridiculous endorsements that come with recognition and stardom.

Unfortunately, the pay is not enough to allow the players to make it on football alone, and all of them hold down part-time jobs to get by. Both Bucheon FC and FC United players make anywhere from $200 to 900 per game depending on their game performance and level of effort.

But most players have a solid track record and either have experience in the K-League or abroad.

Mputu Kakkgr Jersy, or Kaka, is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who has played semipro football in Korea for the past five years, despite restrictions that limit foreign players from participating in league games.

Kim Tae-ryu, a 27-year-old midfielder, has played in Korea’s top professional league and in one of the country’s best university football programs. The Korea University graduate played for the Chunnam Dragons of the K-League for a year before he was sidelined by an injury. He is currently taking graduate school courses and hopes to work in football administration. He is carrying out his two years of mandatory military service by doing administrative work.

“I’ve been playing football for a long time, but the supporters and the intimate environment around here are great,” Kim said. “There aren’t many stories out there like Bucheon FC. The history of the club, albeit brief, is moving.”

Team Captain Park Mun-ki is another 27-year-old former Chunnam player. Having scored the opening goal in Saturday’s match, Park was named the game’s most valuable player. He anchors the team’s defense and played in the professional league in Singapore until last year.

“This place has a great familial environment. Some have reservations about the K3, but the level of play is not much lower than that of other football leagues,” Park said.

The same can be said about FC United players. Jerome Wright is a 23-year-old midfielder for FC United. Off the pitch, he works as an administrator.

“We have some builders, delivery guys and college students on our squad,” Wright said. “We’ve been together for the past four years, and practice three times a week in the evening and play two games a week. We have played in Sweden and Germany, but it’s our first time in Korea and it’s so different from what we’re accustomed to. It’s great.”

Bucheon FC has modeled itself after the dedication and commitment shown by FC United. That’s refreshing for sports fans who long to root for the game of football and what it truly stands for.

“We do not have any sponsors and we do not have a corporate logo on our jersey. The jersey is the symbol of the club and it is not for sale,” explained the team’s General Manager Andy Walsh. “Our club is about the supporters and what’s important to them. All the revenue raised from the merchandise and fund-raising activities goes to support the team.”
 

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Grand, just wondered if you'd heard about Oldham's new proposed stadium at Failsworth, any thoughts on how will this impact on FC, since it's just up the road from Newton Heath and your proposed new stadium?
 
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