Numerous matches and moments with United, but truth be told the actual happiest I've ever been at a game?
Rochdale 2-3 FC United of Manchester, FA Cup 1st Round November 5th 2010
For those unfamiliar, FC United are a breakaway club formed in the wake of the Malcolm Glazer takeover of Manchester United back in 2005. Contrary to what is reported however, many fans had been contemplating such a move long before the takeover with the general feeling that football was moving in a very corporate and commercialised direction and abandoning the traditional roots of the game. They therefore formed their own club, secured a groundshare with Bury to use their ground for home fixtures and immediately started in the 10th League of English football, aka as far low as they could go. They took 4,500 fans to the likes of Blackpool and St Helens for pre season friendlies, and there was a passionate atmosphere that this club and its supporters were here to make a vocal stand against modern football. This would include given every member a say in the club's ethos and decisions, instituting 'pay what you can afford' season tickets and running numerous local community intiatives from charity work to programs with inner city youths. They're also planning to not have Sky TV in their soon to be christened Club Lounge, as a continued stance against Sky and their growing influence on football.
Fast forward to 2010, FC had secured consecutive promotions for 3 years running since 2005, meaning they were now in the 7th League of English football. They managed to defeat Barrow in the final qualifying round, a Conference team who were 2 leagues above them at the time. FC were then drawn away to Rochdale, a local derby 15 minutes away with the game televised on Friday night (FC agreeing to the time switch because ESPN took the time to ask for their permission, and in the process secured cheaper admission for both sets of supporters). Rochdale were 4 leagues and 97 places ahead of FC United before the game, and after FC went 2-0 up early in the second half, Rochdale brought it back to 2-2 with 15 minutes to play. Cue a 91st minute winner from Michael Norton to send the 3500 FC United fans into jubliant celebrations and send shockwaves through English football. A subsequent pitch invasion by close to 1500 FC United fans who began unleashing song after song against modern football and its many pitfalls garnered swift media attention and it remains one of the proudest moments in the club's shortlived history. For the first time in years it felt like a true victory for what football used to be about, and FC then managing to hold the current League 1 table-toppers Brighton to a replay away from home in the next round further underlined the fantastic effort by all at the club.
Everything about that night was magical. A bunch of part time footballers managed to outplay and overcome professionls against all the odds whilst 3500 FC fans ensured one of the loudest away followings in England in quite sometime. Here's a short pre-match video of the FC end that night:
Alternatively, FC recently lost to Hereford at home in the final round of qualifying for this year's FA Cup. Despite losing they continued to outsing the travelling support with consumate ease, and really demonstrated the club ethos which doesn't focus on team performances, but rather supporting the team whatever the result: