Posts Tagged ‘Ladbrokes Supporters Cup’

Typical enough sign in a Belfast boozer.

I’ve long been fascinated by F.C United of Manchester.

A football team unlike any other, they are owned by supporters and represent football in its truest form. Cheap tickets, fan culture and a sense of community. The demise of Manchester United F.C as a community entity ultimately paved the way for a club like this in Manchester, and FCUM enjoy cult like support in Manchester and beyond. The idea of seeing them take on North Belfast side Cliftonville at the West Belfast home of Donegal Celtic F.C was an appealing one, so up we went.

The three Come Here To Me contributers were joined by Luke, one of the Bohemian F.C faithful. Our understanding of football from the north-east is generally limited to Setanta Cup experiences in truth, with Cliftonville, Glentoran and Linfield being among the sides that southern teams frequently encounter in the competition. We’ve never been to Donegal Celtic Park, and are advised by a friend of one of the lads to taxi it, owing to the distance from the city centre. This city is soccer crazy in a way few are, everyone from Oscar Traynor to George Best kicked a football up here remember. The taxi driver is a Crusaders man himself. Everyone has a team.

“I am an F.C fan
I am Mancunian
I know what I want and I know how to get it
I want to destroy Glazer and Sky….”

FCUM have brought great support with them, several hundred fans are in the shed and they chant for 90 minutes. Cliftonville don’t bring many, though to their credit are fresh from a pretty impressive Euro victory and this game isn’t even in their own home stadium. We get in to the ground just as FCUM score, and the place erupts. The connection between the fans and players is excellent, and they feed off one another.

A Glagow Celtic/ F.C Sankt Pauli banner inside the stadium

One thing you notice straight away, and unlike any kickabout at Richmond Park or over on the northside, is the absolute lack of police inside the stadium. The amazing pride Donegal Celtic obviously have in their ground is clear too, a beautiful clubhouse and ground in perfect order meets the visitor. Post match, which Cliftonville win comfortably following a most impressive second half comeback, we’re in the company of both sets of supporters and fans of Celtic, Aston Villa and other clubs.

Belfast is a top class city, and much is owed to Donal, a friend of one of our own lads now at home there, for showing us around the pubs. A 1am bus home, wrapped in a new FCUM/Cliftonville scarf, and our day was over. A long way from the League of Ireland, and far more exciting than any Setanta Cup trip North.

FCUM, come back!


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