FC United of Manchester have taken the unusual step of criticising the decision to move their FA Cup tie with Chesterfield to a Monday night so it can shown live on television.
Instead of taking place across the weekend of November 7 and 8, the fixture has now been pushed back to Monday November 9 with a 7.45pm kick-off time.
Usually, a team from the sixth tier of English football would jump at the chance to be broadcast around Britain on a hugely popular TV station like BT Sport.
But that’s not the FC United of Manchester way – a club born in 2005 by former Manchester United supporters opposed to the Glazer ownership of the English giants.
According to a club statement after they were informed of the decision to move the first round tie, the Red Rebels insist they have a historical opposition to games being moved from their traditional slots because of the problems it can cause fans.
They believe that Monday is a working day and because Tuesday is too, it could see the match-day experience hampered for fans looking to attend at their new Broadhurst Park Stadium.
FC United of Manchester wrote:
While recognising that TV is important to football, the club also has a stated pledge to seek to change football for the benefit of supporters, without whom the game would not exist. Having considered the club’s stated views on this issue as expressed democratically by members, the Board of FC United of Manchester has refused to agree with the move our FA Cup 1st round game against Chesterfield to Monday 9 November 2015.
The FA has responded this morning to inform us that they insist on the game being moved according to rule 2 and 8.13 in the FA Cup competition rules and therefore we have no option but to hold the match on the Monday evening at 7.45pm. We are deeply disappointed by the FA’s stance and have made them aware of this.
FC United has a proud history of campaigning for change on issues affecting the game and its supporters. The history of that protest has always been about respect for the integrity of the game and not disrupting the match or players. In that spirit, on this issue we believe that we need to make a stand. Protesting at the moving of this match to a Monday is a continuation of the campaign against kick off times and ticket prices supported by fans of clubs in this country and abroad. Most notably FC Bayern Munich fans spent the first five minutes of their recent Champions League game against Arsenal ‘below stairs’ before taking their place in the stands.
A similar protest at Broadhurst Park is not practicable on health and safety grounds as there is nowhere for fans to congregate safely although there is still much we can do.
FC United recognises that there is an inevitable price to be paid for TV but we believe that the stick has been bent too far and it is right that we take a stand on this issue.
The club will also give fans of both teams a £1 voucher to cover the additional cost of the £10 ticket for the game – a fee set by the FA.
FC United of Manchester usually charge £9 for home games and they believe this is another reason why the game shouldn’t go ahead on a Monday.
Karl Marginson’s men are in the FA Cup proper after beating Sporting Khalsa in the fourth qualifying round last weekend.