Last night, in front of a crowd numbering more than 3,500, FC United of Manchester beat Stourbridge FC 1-0. In doing so, they became champions of the Evostik Northern Premier League and secured their promotion to the Conference North.
As you doubtless already know, FC United were founded ten years ago as a breakaway club from Manchester United, inspired by the Glazer takeover and by a profound dissatisfaction with the state and direction of the club. Since then, they have risen from North West Counties Football League Division Two to this current title win, and have done so in a manner entirely admirable fashion, one that couldn't contrast more with the club they left behind.
Consider: they are a club owned by, and run for, its fans. They have had one manager, the estimable Karl Marginson, in their entire existence. They are on the verge of moving to a new stadium in Newton Heath, a stadium funded in large part by the fans themselves. Their average attendances in the Evostik Prem outstripped the majority of teams from the Conference North and the Conference proper. They are avowedly non-commercial and avowedly democratic. They are responsible for perhaps the finest crowd banner of all time.
Football without cans is nothing pic.twitter.com/ZYNb1XSShM
— CasualUltra.com (@CasualUltra_) February 15, 2014
They are, in short, a shining advert for everything that football can be and everything football should be. Congratulations on the promotion, and here's to many more.
This is FC United's website, where you can become a member, sponsor a brick in the new stadium, and generally enjoy the sight of a football club doing as a football should.