FC United of Manchester have announced their ‘disappointment’ at being forced to play their FA Cup first round fixture against Chesterfield on a Monday night.
The supporter-ran club have fought to defy the demands of television and play their matches on Saturdays throughout their ten-year history, but despite informing the FA that they would ‘refuse’ to play on a Monday, the governing body have insisted that they do.
In a statement released on the club website, The Rebels announced their intention to protest against the decision, although a repeat of the Bayern Munich protest at Arsenal – in which fans refused to take their seats for the first five minutes of their Champions League clash due to anger over ticket prices – was dismissed due to health and safety concerns.
However, the club will be issuing all supporters with a £1 voucher to be used on food, drink and merchandise, as the FA Cup stipulates a minimum ticket price of £10 for an adult, whereas admission to Broadhurst Park is usually priced at £9.
The statement also went into further detail about their reasons behind their reluctance to move the match time, describing it as ‘inconvenient to fans and detrimental to the match-day atmosphere’.
“We are deeply disappointed by the FA’s stance and have made them aware of this,” the statement read.
“FC United recognises that there is an inevitable price to be paid for TV but we believe that the stick has been bent too far and it is right that we take a stand on this issue.
“While recognising that TV is important to football, the club also has a stated pledge to seek to change football for the benefit of supporters, without whom the game would not exist.
“FC United has a proud history of campaigning for change on issues affecting the game and its supporters.
“The history of that protest has always been about respect for the integrity of the game and not disrupting the match or players.
“In that spirit, on this issue we believe that we need to make a stand.
“Protesting at the moving of this match to a Monday is a continuation of the campaign against kick off times and ticket prices supported by fans of clubs in this country and abroad.
Despite the controversy, the home tie against professional opposition presents an exciting opportunity for the club to showcase their impressive new stadium, with the statement describing the club’s progress as a ‘significant achievement’.
FC United’s Press and Communications Officer Andy Walker told MM that the club did not wish to elaborate on their statement.
He said: “We do not wish to add to what we have posted on our website. It is a club statement and states our position.”
Image courtesy of ruudboy, with thanks.