Big business ruining football for fans: Democratic FC United lead way against likes of Manchester United

By Mancunian Matters staff

FC United of Manchester are showcasing the finest moments of their nine-year existence at their Union is Strength Exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Spinningfields.

The breakaway club were formed in 2005 after the Glazer family took over Manchester United and fans became increasingly disillusioned by the commercialisation of The Red Devils.

The exhibition maps the journey of the fan-owned football team so far and FC United Community Officer John Nicholson explained the origins of the club.

“The big business that’s taken over premiership football has just taken it way out of the reach of ordinary fans and supporters,” said Mr Nicholson.

“The Glazers have taken away the democracy and participation from the fans at Old Trafford, this led to FC United saying: ‘we want to do it our way’.

“We wanted a club that’s owned by the supporters which our club is and that fits exactly with the democracy that’s involved in the People’s History Museum, which is all about getting some control and participation in the processes that determine our lives.”

The club is a total co-operative with every member given an equal vote and MM came across one such member while viewing the exhibition.

Former non-league referee Paul Gresty, 57, from Whitefield, was impressed by the display that the club had put on in partnership with the museum and the Working Class Movement Library in Salford.

“It captures the atmosphere and ethos of what the club stands for,” said Mr Gresty. “There’s some brilliant photographs of matches both from the past and more recent matches, it’s well worth a visit.

“Off the field, although I’ve only been a member for four years, one can see the club going from strength to strength.

“The people that volunteer at FC United are the backbone of the club, they are salt of the earth and it is their work that keeps the club going.”

Catherine O’Donnell, an Engagement and Events Officer at the People’s History Museum, worked alongside the supporters to put the exhibition together and couldn’t speak highly enough of them.

“The FC United fans are great” she said. “They have a real passion as well as a real drive and determination to create something.”

The exhibition is open from 10am-5pm daily and runs until February 23.

For more information about FC United or to become a member visit

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