FC United of Manchester Coach Karl Marginson came on a Monday night to meet and talk with the 1830 Supporters Club. They are set up to drive the involvement of 18-30 year olds at FC United and meet regularly. The next meeting is Monday 22 Feb at The Old Monkey on Portland St, 7pm. This is what happened last time.
Last meeting was a ‘cultured’ Monday night at a bar. Before the “most depressing night in Manchester” event, some boisterous Mönchengladbach fans chanting and taking over the pub, some ancient sword dancing and some card tricks from the man himself, we caught up with ‘Margy’. I’ve picked below my favourite six quotes and stories from a man that showed that he, like the club, is about much more than just football.
1. He wore jeans to his first interview. In fact, he was coaxed into it ‘as just going in for a chat’. Famously, he still often wears jeans on match days, and has that refreshing air of being down to earth and real.
2. Speaking of some of the early meetings when the club was organising and forming. He recalls a meeting when they were discussing logistics of transport and wheelchair access and everything in between. Founding member Andy Walsh piped up with a valid suggestion – do we need any balls?!
3. He told the story of the first media conference announcing his signing as a coach. He was in fruit and vegetable delivery at the time. He recalled driving into the city in his dirty work clothes and a big white van. He parked in the CBD and got changed into a suit in the back of the van. CCTV footage or anyone that had seen it must have been scratching their heads, and he was worried during the whole conference about his van, with the dodgy man who went in and the business man who came out, being seen to by the authorities!
4. He described how the fan support and atmosphere at FC United is different to any other club, because the “fans can really influence the players”. I’ve been to two games where from 3-0 down, FC have gone on to draw or win and the interaction and energy between the team and the crowd was incredible.
5. He recalled the early years when kids would go and support their Premier League teams at the games. Now with ticket prices ruling so many fans out of the game, they’re more likely to watch the game at the pub. “I think football can have a better effect than that [taking kids to the pub]”.
6. When asked about how he finally lead the team to the most recent promotion after years of trying, his first words wore: “I focussed on myself and becoming a better person”.
This struck me as being about much more than football. It shows a real self-awareness, sense of responsibility and a desire to learn. To ask for that in ones players he must first show it himself. Karl Margison is doing that. This is about making better people, starting with oneself, and better football is built on these better people.
The reverse of priorities in the Premier League.
Margie showed why people are more than just players, why some things are bigger than football, and why FC United is more than just a football club.