Rival fans come together to help families this Christmas

Manchester-Merseyside rivalry was firmly put aside on Saturday as kind-hearted Marine fans helped FC United of Manchester’s campaign to support the local community with food and gifts this Christmas.

Hundreds of items were donated to those in need as fans from Marine’s independent supporters’ group, The Crosender Way, which is based in Crosby, Merseyside answered FC United’s call to help local families who are struggling during the cost-of-living crisis. 

The collection, which was organised by FC United and Moston based community group Coalition of Kindness, saw caring fans from both clubs provide tinned food, selection boxes and toys. 

FC United Board member Matthew Haley said: “We know we can always rely on our amazing supporters to help people who are struggling but we were blown away by the solidarity shown by the visiting Marine fans.

“It was an extremely classy gesture from a fantastic group of supporters. Non-league football at its finest. We’re really grateful and want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated what they could afford to our local community.” 

Michael Holland from The Crosender Way said: “Any way we can help people who are less fortunate than us is a plus. We do regular food banks at our games, so we’re happy to help.

“Hunger has no colours. Rivalry gets put to one side for food banks – at least until the game starts! We have to help any way we can in cities like ours where people are struggling.”

Vinny Thompson BEM from the Coalition of Kindness, said: “It was a magnificent effort. We can't thank everyone enough. Great respect to both sets of fans for their contributions. The donations will put smiles on the faces of people who need them the most this Christmas.” 

Thompson was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) last year for his work helping the community, including running one of Greater Manchester’s busiest food hubs at FC United’s Broadhurst Park ground throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

FC United has run an extensive variety of community programmes since it was established in 2005 as a protest against the hostile takeover of Manchester United by the American businessman Malcolm Glazer. 

The club recently appointed Jennie Swarbrick, formerly of Manchester United and Liverpool FC, in a dual role as the club’s women's team manager and community manager. 

Last month, the club ran its annual Big Coat Day for the 19th consecutive year. The project is now run in partnership with British Heart Foundation, and Winning Hearts and Minds – an organisation that works to improve heart and mental health in north Manchester. 

Leoni Painter from Winning Hearts and Minds said: “More than 20 local organisations benefitted from the kind donations of FC United fans at Big Coat Day. The clothes were greatly received, and the items are now being distributed to their service users.”

Where next?

Kidsgrove snap up exciting winger Young winger Lewis Holdham has joined Kidsgrove Athletic.
Ossett show support for local community Ossett United exceeded all expectations with a pre-Christmas collection for the local community foodbank.

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