People United Day − News
People United Day Declared a Success
The club wishes to thank all those organisations and its supporters for their participation in and hard work for our People United Day on October 28th. It was a fitting and unique part of football‘s Kick Out Racism weeks.
Manchester FA‘s anti−racist roadshow was set up inside the stadium, whilst a St John‘s ambulance sat outside for young and old to inspect before the parade of banners. The club had declared the day‘s fixture with Glossop to be an Under 18s Free game, encouraging schools and youth clubs to take part, and they did. Over 1,000 young people attended.
A contingent of 100 young people arrived on coaches from Ashton. Cars also ferried in school students from as far as Stockport, and a football club in Worsley. Bury schools turned out, as did Bury Council for Race Equality and many young refugees and asylum seekers. For those wishing to parade new banners, we organised a banner−making workshop on the eve of the game, and for those wishing to have fun after the game, our supporters based in Bury put on a Halloween party down the road.
Both Glossop and FC United players wore People United T−shirts during the warm up, and the sweaty shirt of Man of the Match, Jamie Phoenix, was auctioned off for £35. The Cemetery End of the ground had been opened and declared as the Youth Stand for the day and ten of our club juniors emerged from the stand, carrying the “FC United Against Racism” banner around the pitch at the head of the People United parade.
The unorchestrated standing ovation from the 3,000 supporters around the ground was a moving tribute to all those who had taken the time to make banners and parade on the pitch. The Glossop North End supporters were the first to applaud, and in a further gesture of respect, the Glossop and FC United captains exchanged club pennants before the kick off.
In particular, the club wishes to acknowledge what an absolutely fantastic job our juniors did on Saturday. Many of them gave up a lot of their free time to make banners, hand out leaflets etc. They put a lot of effort into welcoming our visitors and ensuring that they all had a thoroughly good day out. The juniors stewarding the Youth Stand were rightly praised by the Bury safety officer for acting in the best interests of everyone there and were a complete credit to the club and the community.
Photos of the parade and the game are available at:
Representatives of a Nottingham-based gypsies‘ and travellers‘ football team were seated in the crowd alongside Cabinet Minister, Hazel Blears. The club had invited local MPs to see how supporter−led clubs can lead the way in community involvement.
Ms Blears was enthralled by the event. Before the game she declared:
“Football is the people‘s game, and should be at the heart of the community. That means that everyone, regardless of who they are, or where they come from, should be able to watch, enjoy and play football. Because football is a global phenomenon, there is a danger that football clubs lose their basis in the community. FC United has shown that passion still counts for something, that football is as much about the small teams as well as the giants, and that communities can come together to create something special.”
FC United general manager Andy Walsh responded:
“It is great that the initiatives we are undertaking at FC United are being recognised. We are firmly behind Kick it Out week and yet also wanted to broaden it out to address all socially excluded groups within Greater Manchester.”
“People United Day is about honouring the pledge we made, in the manifesto members adopted at the start of the season, by making FC United accessible to all the communities of Greater Manchester.”
“There were a thousand young people in the ground, so it‘s been a great success and something that‘s not been tried before. Football against racism has been going for a long time now. In our first season we put our toe in the water, but this season we‘ve pushed the boat out a bit further.”
This being our first such day, we especially welcome any comments supporters might have regarding the day, and any suggestions for improving and expanding these events.
Here are some comments we have received to date:
“What a fantastic day. Everyone enjoyed it (except one lady parent who hates football, but her son loves it), players and parents. The atmosphere was electric, the staff were so accommodating, the game exhilarating, the fun was abundant. Thanks for allowing us the privilege of parading the banners around the pitch. The reception from the fans was awesome. It will stick with me forever and I am sure it will with the players. In fact, the day has given the lads a great boost. One team won 7−1; the other drew 2−2 after being 2−0 down at half time.”
Beechfield United organiser
“The parents and children had a great afternoon out and they were really grateful. One of the fathers used to be a steward at M16 and he said that he was pleased to have the opportunity to take his son, who is in one of our reception classes, to watch his first football match without it costing the M16 prices which he couldn‘t afford. He said the standard of play was at a high standard.”
Teacher, Didsbury Road Primary, Stockport
“I just wanted to say what a great success the people united day was. I took my little girl to her first football match and she loved every minute of the day. She got to meet the players and had pictures taken. Even though it was a long day for her as she is only 5 and we came from the West Midlands she loved every minute of it and can not wait to go again.”
“Everything FC United are trying achieve as a club for the fans I feel they are doing it superbly and I‘m proud to have been a part of it from day one. The players to my 5 year old are her heroes now, which for me, to see the excitement on her face, was a great buzz. My little girl has even taken her pictures of the day to her school.”
A West Midlands Red
“It was a brilliant day, truly wonderful to see people from all communities coming together, children and adults carrying ‘really positive‘ around the pitch before the game. We will not only be going again but talking with the club about some joint community development work. We thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“The standard of the football was impressive any real lover of the game would have enjoyed what was on display, hard work, skill, pride, passion and lots of goals. You can‘t ask for more than that.”
Gypsy & Travellers‘ representative
“It was a fabulous day out for about 32 of our refugee and asylum seeker members and children. We made banners and took them round the ground with you. Thanks so much for inviting us.”
Bury Eagles‘ Wing
And Finally −
Greetings arrived from our German sister club, Lokomotiv Leipzig who 20 years ago were finalists in the European Cup Winners‘ Cup:
“Nice to hear of your successes. Never forget − all colours are beautiful.”
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