Manchester's fan-owned club to visit Banbury United for pre-season friendly
Banbury United will host fellow supporters-owned club FC United of Manchester in a prestigious pre-season friendly.
The game on Saturday, July 31 will be a hugely popular encounter in the build-up to the new league season – and with the promise of a return fixture next year it could even become an annual event on the calendar.
Banbury Chairman Phil Lines said: “This is a massive boost for the club, FC United are at the forefront of supporters owned clubs and a high profile friendly fixture is great news for our supporters and all football fans in the area.
“They regularly have crowds of over 1500-2000 and we hope there will be a lot of support here from around Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas.
“After everything that’s gone on in the past year it’s a wonderful game for us to host, for the club, supporters and the town.
“It’s been a difficult time in everyone’s life but hopefully now we can be optimistic for the future and look forward to next season and getting back to normality. It will be nice to have football – and crowds – back again.”
Banbury United is owned by its supporters via membership of a Community Benefit Society (CBS) that owns the club.
FC United of Manchester was formed in 2005 by Manchester United fans wanting a club for the community again, following the takeover by Malcolm Glazer.
They play at the same level as Banbury in Step 3, in the Northern Premier League.
Adrian Seddon from FC United of Manchester said: “We are delighted to be able to play another supporters’ owned club as part of our pre-season programme.”
West Bromwich Albion Under 23s will also visit for a pre-season friendly on Saturday, July 10, also with a 3pm kick-off at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.
“That will be another fantastic game for us, which we are really looking forward to,” Lines added.
Managed by Andy Whing, players will start training again in June, ready for Banbury United to start their Southern League Premier Central campaign on August 14.
“Like all clubs our first priority is to try for promotion,” said Lines.
“But at the moment we are just looking forward to playing and enjoying football again.”
United will also be hoping for a repeat of last year’s excellent FA Cup run which gave them a huge boost, as they enjoyed reaching the first round for the first time in well over 30 years.