WITH the start of the 2015-16 National League North season fast approaching, Jordan Davies takes a look at FC United of Manchester’s chances ahead of the new campaign.
2014-15 was the season FC United of Manchester finally achieved promotion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division.
Six unsuccessful promotion bids, including three consecutive play-off final defeats, were laid to rest by Karl Marginson’s men as they took the title with 92 points.
A sluggish start by The Rebels was followed up by a run of 11 straight league wins from Boxing Day through to early March which propelled them to title-winning candidates.
A crowd of 3,588 showed up to the final ‘home’ game of the season against Stourbridge when a win would secure promotion and they did not go home disappointed after Greg Daniels wrote his name into FC history by heading in the only goal of the game.
FC also reached the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy before a narrow 1-0 loss away at Conference side Torquay United.
It’s been an extremely quiet summer so far in incomings and departures from Broadhurst Park – could that cost the Rebels come the end of April?
Nicky Platt (Midfielder from Witton Albion): Platt is the only new addition to Karl Marginson’s squad for the 2015-16 season and is returning to the club where he made nearly 200 appearances before his release in 2013. Platt is fondly remembered by FC fans for scoring against Rochdale and Brighton in The Rebels FA Cup run of 2010-11.
Shelton Payne (to Salford City, free transfer): Payne, who only arrived in January from Trafford FC, is the only member of FC’s promotion winning side who is choosing not to make the move to Broadhurst Park. Instead he joins Salford City as The Ammies look to join FC in the sixth tier of English football.
Tom Greaves: Greaves was the main reason why FC United gained promotion last season, particularly in the second half of the campaign Greaves was impossible to keep off the score-sheet netting 20 times in the league alone.
Craig Lindfield: The addition of the former Macclesfield and Accrington man coincided with FC’s best spell of the season. Whether Lindfield played out on the wing or in behind Greaves he added quality to FC’s attacks which proved key in breaking down some of the Evostik’s most stubborn defences.
Jerome Wright: FC United’s top appearance maker off all time. Wright has worn the red shirt an astonishing 335 occasions and is a crucial part of the side. Wright is accomplished in possession and regularly bombs on beyond the winger from his position of left-back. He is also a penalty-kick specialist.
Possible line up:
With a squad high on confidence and togetherness but with no experience of playing in the sixth tier of English football it is almost impossible to predict how FC will get on this campaign. They ought to have too much quality to steer clear of any relegation fears but may need a season of transition before they can properly challenge for promotion again.
By Jordan Davies
* All signings correct as of August 3 *