Like a record baby…….

A sunny Gigg Lane day for the game v Barrow.

Well, well, well. We did it. FC United made it into the 1st round proper of the FA last weekend, beating Barrow on the most emotional day at Gigg Lane. At the end I was almost in tears (almost I say!!) as the pride of what was going on around me hit home.

Then just a couple of days later the realism arrived as the 1st round tie at Rochdale was chosen for the tele and was moved to a Friday night. And so it began. The debate, the arguments, claim and counter claim. And to be honest, I see both sides very clearly and have sympathy on both sides.

At the end of our first season, the members at the GM took a vote. That vote was to enter the competition (in fact any FA competition such the FA Cup, Trophy and Vase) knowing that there maybe games moved for TV purposes. That is a fact of entering, but deep down, I don’t think many of us thought that it would rear its head for quite sometime. The 1st round proper was a long long way off back in 2006. Well it has arrived and with a bang.

ESPN contacted the clubs and said we want to televise the game and here is some cash for doing so (£67,500ish.) Our board, with only a short time to decide and with the mandate of the previous vote decided to accept the offer of television and so we now play on Friday 5th November at 7.45pm.

There has been accusations of selling out our principles at this, and I can see where that is coming from. We have a banner at FC. We have many of course, but one in particular that says “3pm Saturday. It’s only natural.” The team name for our Eggheads FC team (and please don’t ask how we did, you have to wait till it airs) was “3 o’clock Saturday” so yes it is important to play at this time. Its what most of us (notice the word “most”) want and believe in, and rightly so. But then the realism hits. We work on a tight budget, a budget that due to financial pressures from renting a ground etc we struggle to meet. So yes, the money made from the televising of the game is important. It is important to the future survival of the club, we cannot continue to lose money year on year. If that continues, there is only one way the club will go. And by collecting this money, the club can concentrate its efforts on fund raising for Ten Acres Lane, on focussing minds on the DF and on the Community Share Issue and let the club run itself for a while. Cause make no mistake on it, like the tight budget, without a ground of our own we don’t have a future for the club. And that cannot be allowed to happen, too many people have invested far too much time, money and effort for the club to wither and die. Just have a look on a match day and the number of volunteers running around getting the match on, I am sure they don’t want to be walking round Asda on a Sat.

But of course there is something that doesn’t sit right. It is a decision made based on money. Of course it is. I would have loved the message that turning down the TV revenue would have sent out. And you know what, when we are in Ten Acres, we can do just that. People have said that we have taken it once, we have to take it every time. Utter nonsense, its our club, its our rules as we say, so if the revenue isn’t that important, as it won’t be in the future we can say thank you but no thank you. At the moment, I feel it would be remiss of the board to have done that. But in the future when we can generate all our cash and spend it on our own club? Hell yes. And make a big song and dance about it. But like I said, parts of it doesn’t sit right. Course it doesn’t, but maybe we have been our own worst enemies on that score. We have told people over and over that it has to be 3 o’clock or we will boycott. I have said it myself, but then when you sit down and think rationally about it, maybe at this stage of our club, we aren’t in a position to say that. In the future as I have said then yes, but now? Maybe we have sprinted before we can even crawl?

The one thing the board can be blamed for is being too honest. They could have said that it was a fait accompli and we had no choice. But we trust them not to hoodwink us, or mislead us. We trust them to be open and honest, and I don’t think we would want it any other way we trust them and they trust us and long may that continue.

As for the comparisons I have read with the Curzon boycott? Ludicrous. That is like comparing an apple with a wind turbine. The league told clubs that games wouldn’t be moved, then did so. At least with the FA and all their faults, you know FA cup games may well get moved before we enter.

And as for what our detractors say. Who cares, fuck them. They will slag us for “selling out” which is bollocks and if we had turned it down, they would have slagged us for  depriving Rochdale their revenue. So who cares?

I do think that this could be revisited in the future. At first I didn’t, we voted and that is that. But I am sure a resolution could be drafted to try and tighten this up for the future. Though I don’t know what the solution is.

And of course, as with all things like this, it is up to the individual. If you really feel you are against it, you can give the game a miss and make your feeling know at a club meeting. That is your choice and you are more than entitled to it. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Remember, even 5 years down the line, we are still on a learning curve, we will all make mistakes, the important thing is how we learn from them. And wouldn’t you rather be having the debate, than not?



One response to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Supporters Direct, Steven Wood. Steven Wood said: New blog post on the ESPN game […]


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