Something old - Something new ! The greatest tournament in the world, the F.A. Cup and the world's oldest club, SHEFFIELD FC were hosting one of the youngest, F C UNITED OF MANCHESTER, in a preliminary round at the Coach & Horses in Dronfield just south of Sheffield. Actually Chairman Richard Tims signed a ground naming sponsorship last weekend and it is now officially BT LOCAL BUSINESS STADIUM.
What an atmosphere in this small stadium, as the fans of FCUM invaded over the Pennines in bright sunshine and congregated pre-match in The Coach and Horses Pub, attached to the ground and owned by the club, for the ice cold Thornbridge Ales. They made up 75% of the attendance and made their presence known half an hour before the 3.00pm k.o. time, They had brought over 2 dozen large banners and were chanting, singing, clapping for 90 minutes, and holding up silver cardboard replica's of the F.A. Cup.
Sheffield FC www.sheffieldfc.com were formed in 1857 in a tiny greenhouse near the city center while FCUM were formed in 2005 when The Glazer Family of Tampa, Florida took over Manchester United. Ticket prices rocketed, fans had to pay for all home matches including minor cup competitions, even though many lived hundreds of miles away, and they had to stay in their seats. They started in the 10th tier but won promotion 3 times in as many seasons.They are now in the Northern Premier League, Premier Divsision. www.fc-utd.co.uk
They groundshare these days with BURY FC and their fans are passionate about the good old days. This afternoon was an example of What Football was Meant to Be, with the fans of both clubs unsegregated and friendly with their banter. NO Prawn sandwiches here!!. There were 7 'bobbies' on duty who mentioned afterwards that it was 'easy peasy' for them with no trouble whatsoever. There were some amusing T shirts on the well proportioned bodies of the visitors. "Which ship has never docked in Liverpool? the PremierSHIP !! The signs were hung around the small ground, FC United: Standing Room Only, FCUM Passion, FCUM: Get the Buzz, Republica FCUM Margentina, FC United: Coming to a Town near you, It's a Love FCUM Thang, FC United: Songs of Manchester.....
For 30 minutes there was plenty of drama on the pitch but no goals, until the visitors took the lead through Ben Deegan. Carlos Roca increased the lead after 40 minutes with a penalty, and just before the half he made it 3-0. Sheffield FC, CLUB, didn't compete but in the second half the Mancunion army was again in full voice but CLUB started to get back into the match. Jordan Eagers scored after a controversial penalty decision after 67 minutes and goalie Tom Cross was magnificent for Sheffield, but it was FCUM who triumphed and went into the pot for the 2nd qualifying round.