|Date of birth||27-12-1982|
|Place of birth||Manchester|
|Previous clubs||Sheffield United, Ossett Town|
|Favourite club||Manchester United|
If Rob Nugent was not partnering captain David Chadwick so ably at the back then chances are the FC United defender would be watching the match from the Manchester Road End.
The 22-year-old from Atherton, a lifelong Manchester United fan, had already pledged his support to the club before receiving a call inviting him to train with Karl Marginson�€trade;s fledgling squad.
It seems the only difference between Nugent and the people paying to see him is that he happens to be a very good footballer. Because as long as he can remember, Nugent has been a United supporter.
�€�My earliest memory is sitting at the front of the South Stand when United played Leeds, it must have been about 1990 or 1991,�€� he recalls.
�€�That�€trade;s where the tunnel used to be and we were right next to where the Leeds players came out when they were warming up. I just remember giving all the Leeds players abuse and my dad was behind me with all of his mates doing the same. On the way back he said �€�What happens at football stays at football, don�€trade;t tell your mum.�€trade;�€�
The young Nugent was a promising player and spent his teenage years with various teams before attracting the interest of Sheffield United. He spent two years at Bramall Lane as a YTS trainee before signing professional terms. However, after two seasons he was released by the Blades and struggled to find a new club. A bright lad, he decided to pursue a new career as an accountant, playing non-league football in his spare time. But Nugent has always combined playing with supporting and watched United as often as possible.
�€�From the age of eight to 15 or 16 just before I went over to Sheffield, my dad had a season ticket in J Stand and I used to play in the morning and then we�€trade;d go to Old Trafford. I�€trade;d just pick up a spare outside,�€� he explains.
�€�If we played away I�€trade;d do the same. The furthest we could get to after I�€trade;d played in the morning was probably Coventry. But we�€trade;d go to Goodison, Blackburn - all the games I could get to really - and I also did Europeans like Porto and Dortmund.�€�
As an IMUSA member Nugent campaigned to stop Malcolm Glazer�€trade;s takeover. He was also prepared to support FC United from the start.
�€�I�€trade;d been outside Old Trafford protesting and I was at the first Methodist Hall meeting,�€� he adds, outlining how he became a member of the team.
�€�After the meeting I put my name down just to be involved with FC, even if I could just give up some of my spare time. I was with one of my mates and he just said jokingly �€�oh he plays football this guy here.�€trade; I was trying to play it down a bit because you don�€trade;t want to seem big-headed and give it the big one, but Luc (Zentar) seemed interested and was asking where I�€trade;d played and he said he�€trade;d give me a call.�€�
Nugent had been at UniBond Premier league side Ossett Town for two seasons but was ready to support FC United from the start.
�€�I put my name down to go to the trials but then I got a phone call off Luc saying that he�€trade;d spoken to Margy and because of the clubs that I�€trade;d played for there wasn�€trade;t really any point in me going. I just went down to training the following week and we took it from there,�€� he adds.
�€�When you�€trade;re young and you�€trade;re a Red, you want to play for United and when I speak to my mates now I’m like �€�well, I used to dream about playing for United as a kid.�€trade; But what makes United is the fans and although I know I�€trade;m not playing at the top level, FC United is United because United is the fans. This is what I wanted from being a young lad - its mad really.�€�
Nugent sees FC United as a viable long-term option for disenfranchised and disaffected Reds. While he does not want to get overly excited about how far the club can go he does think we can have a healthy and successful future.
�€�If you look at the short term and the next couple of seasons we�€trade;re definitely looking to get out of the North West Counties and into the UniBond,�€� he continues.
�€�After that it�€trade;ll maybe take a season to acclimatise to the UniBond before we get up to the Premier where it will be the same again. We could be in the Conference North in a couple of seasons after that so erring on the side of caution you�€trade;re looking at maybe eight to 10 years to get into the Conference. The potential is phenomenal. �€�People who aren�€trade;t involved in FC can�€trade;t believe it or they can�€trade;t comprehend it but we played down at AFC Wimbledon in pre-season and I didn�€trade;t think there was a great deal of difference between the two sides and they�€trade;re third in their equivalent of the UniBond Premier. Without being too big headed I can�€trade;t see us having a problem.�€�
While the tall centre-half recognises that he is not guaranteed a place in the side, he feels it is encouraging that his place in the team is under constant threat due to the strength of Karl Marginson�€trade;s squad.
�€�You�€trade;ve got to try and be as professional as you can especially when there�€trade;s competition for places and you�€trade;ve got decent lads vying for every position,�€� he adds. �€�There�€trade;s lads coming back from injury and we�€trade;ve got pretty much a full squad now so you�€trade;ve got to try and perform as best you can no matter who�€trade;s watching and where you�€trade;re playing to make sure you get the right impression across to the gaffer.�€�
Nugent did not know any of his team-mates before joining FCUM but he recognised one player at training, who for him, has stood out above all others so far. �€�I played against Steve Torpey a couple of times when I was at Ossett Town and he was at Prescott Cables,�€� Nugent explains before praising the United forward.
�€�I marked him a couple of times, tried giving him a few elbows you know, but because we were both from the North West we were speaking to each other during the game. I knew his face when we were training at FC. He�€trade;s quality, he�€trade;s one of those players that can turn a game just by doing something and he doesn�€trade;t score many tap ins.�€�
Along with the manager, Joz Mitten and his central defensive partner Chadwick, Nugent recently attended a meeting of FCUM�€trade;s South Manchester supporter�€trade;s club.
The depth of support for the club has not been lost on him and he feels that some of the other players, unlucky not to share his red background, are quickly realising what they are now a part of. �€�A couple of the lads in the squad don�€trade;t really have United mates or friends who are Reds, but I�€trade;ve got quite a few,�€� he said.
�€�There�€trade;s people from work coming to games and I can see how much it means to people every day. But I think especially probably Chaddy, when he came down to the meeting, it hit home for him how much people have taken to the club and how much they want to get involved.�€�
�€�For a supporters group, the way they are trying to run it is as professional as the club itself. They�€trade;re talking about getting involved with kids in the community and bringing kids to the game. They really want to help the club and spread the word and get more people along and get it more community based. I was very impressed.�€�
Nugent is sure that the bond between the players and fans will develop further and is determined to continue representing the people in the terraces and the stands the way that he would expect a player to if he was watching. �€�I think its good that the lads can go and have a drink with the fans after the game,�€� he adds. �€�A few of the lads have been in the Swan and Cemetery and you wouldn�€trade;t get that at big United. You never see the players because they�€trade;re on a different level to the fans. It works both ways for fans and players. I�€trade;m sure if flipping Rio, or whoever, was down in the Bishops or in the Trafford before a game then he�€trade;d see how important it is and how much United means to ordinary fans.
�€�The lads at FC can see how much it means and it just drives you on that little bit more. You just want to put that extra bit in.�€�
Well if he ever finds himself out of Margy�€trade;s plans there will always be a place for Rob Nugent on the terraces.