On Saturday, May 28, Detroit City FC will host English side FC United of Manchester at Keyworth Stadium. The visiting team, which plies its trade in the sixth division of English soccer, is known for its grassroots approach to the game and is one of the most interesting British soccer stories in recent years.
With the game coming up soon, we take a look at what makes FC United so interesting. So if you’re not familiar with the team, no need to worry. Here’s what you need to know.
How did FCUM come to be? FC United of Manchester was founded by disillusioned Manchester United FC fans who felt the club was no longer in touch with its supporters. When Malcolm Glazer – an American – took over the club in 2005, these disenfranchised fans chose to create a team that would more appropriately represent them and their values.
FC United of Manchester was founded that year with the team playing its first match in July. The match was attended by over 2,500 supporters, a great crowd for a lower division match. Since then, the team hasn’t looked back as it continues to make its way up the English soccer pyramid.
How is the club structured? FC United is set up in such a manner as to allow its fans to have a say in all club matters. Not only is the club’s board is elected by its members, but key decisions are made on a “one member, one vote” basis. The club also works closely with the local community.
This is all done in an effort to remain accessible to all fans. In fact, one of the core principles of the clubs is to avoid “outright commercialism”, with one of the club’s main priorities being keeping tickets affordable to fans. Perhaps most interestingly, the club wants to remain a non-profit organization.
Does the team have a stadium? The Red Rebels play their matches at Broadhurst Park, located in Moston, Manchester. The stadium, which seats 4,400 people, originally was to be named of Moston Community Stadium, but fans renamed it a year before completion.
Broadhurst Park officially opened up on May 29, 2015 for a friendly against Benfica, which celebrated the anniversary of the Manchester United – Benfica European Cup Final of 1968. The first league game played at the stadium occurred on August 11, 2015.
Why did the team choose to play Detroit City FC? According Rob Blow, a FC United board member, it started out with some small talk between the two club owners.
“As I heard it, an FC United co-owner got chatting to a DCFC co-owner while in the States. They both compared and discussed the merits of their respective clubs, and before we knew it, the game was on,” he said.
The similarities in the ideologies of the two clubs also played a part in staging the friendly.
“As a member-owned club, FC stands by the idea that football should be about ‘making friends not millionaires.’ So forging links and making friends with a club that has a similar ethos to our own and that’s not there to make millionaires – as well as all the fun and football – is what it’s all about for us,” added Blow.
Who should the favorite to win? Honestly, it’s a toss-up. Even Blow is curious as how the match will turn out. “I gather it’s in tier four in the US league system. We’re at English league level 6 so how that will pan out on the pitch is anyone’s guess.”
FC United of Manchester will face off against Detroit City FC in a friendly on Saturday, May 28 at 3:00 pm. Tickets and group tickets are still available online.