29 November ~ Supporters of Droylsden FC are nothing if not realistic. Standing geographically in the shadow of Manchester’s Premier League giants (almost literally since City’s move to Eastlands), those involved with the Blue Square North club understand that moments in the limelight may be fleeting and any recognition of achievement limited. However even with such reduced expectations fans still feel a little miffed by lack of reaction to tonight's FA Cup second round home tie with Leyton Orient. Despite this being the club’s second involvement at this stage in the last three years, it seems that local media now only have eyes for the new kids in town when it comes to non-League coverage.

Friday’s Manchester Evening News might serve as Exhibit A if Droylsden pursue an unfair treatment claim. The paper’s FA Cup weekend preview consisted of a double page spread featuring FC United of Manchester’s tie at Brighton, complete with large colour photograph of the team’s post-match celebrations after their previous round win. A single sentence footnote informed readers that Droylsden were also still involved in the competition. As cursory as that seemed it was still more than the Cup round-up on ITV’s Granada Reports provided later that evening, which consisted of a glowing five-minute piece on FCUM and no mention at all of the region’s other remaining representative.

Fortunately any website snippiness from some supporters (“apparently non-League football is only five years old”) has been more than offset by the fact that ESPN have chosen the Droylsden tie for second round live transmission. With BBC Radio 5 Live completing a multimedia experience, the match is due to generate over £100,000 when FA prize money and gate money are taken into account; for a club whose average gates remain obstinately below 400 not a penny of Droylsden’s share will go unappreciated. It will represent more than a full season of gate receipts.

The match also gives the club a chance to bring to a wider audience a team of whom the fans are justifiably proud. Owner/chairman/manager Dave Pace has – apart from challenging the myth about males and multitasking – spent well over a decade preaching the gospel of pass-and-move, which his sides have put it into practice. Their ascent up the non-League pyramid received a chastening blow when promotion to the National Conference in 2007 lasted just the single season during which they found themselves overpowered by full-time outfits but, undeterred, the Bloods continue to fly the flag for football’s purists.

If Droylsden give a good account of themselves tonight they believe they have an opportunity to dispel the notion that football at this level is more about physicality than technique, perhaps attract some new admirers through the turnstiles for forthcoming league fixtures, and maybe even snare a few extra column inches in the MEN. Modest ambitions, perhaps, but perfectly in keeping with this particularly grounded club. Tony Curran

Comments (19)
Comment by Coral 2010-11-29 11:54:14

As I said before, FC United invented non-league football. The media love the story and FC United are happy for them to run with it. So self righteous are the fans of Manchester United that those who did not form this off shoot team, chose to popularise the Green and Gold, which look remarkably similar to the Yellow and Green of Norwich City.

Comment by David Agnew 2010-11-29 11:59:09

So, what you're saying is that the Weekend Preview in the MEN, didn't feature a game not being played on the weekend? If it didn't have a feature in tonight's MEN, I could understand, but isn't this jumping the gun a little?

Comment by making_progress 2010-11-29 12:13:05

Mr Pace is a wonderful character. I'd advise Orient fans to keep an eye on the floodlight's fuse box.

Comment by EIM 2010-11-29 12:13:24

Awww. Bless.

Comment by Tony C 2010-11-29 12:46:55

David - I don't think I'm really "jumping the gun a little".

Droylsden - unlike MUFC -needed to sell tickets for this tie. Potential attendees needed to be given notice of the game and to make plans accordigly. Most of these will only access today's M.E.N in the 'after work' time of maybe 6.00pm onwards. If 'Granada Reports' runs a piece on Droylsden tonight (which is unlikely) it will be aired just over an hour before kick-off. It'll be too little too late - if at all.

Comment by Tony C 2010-11-29 12:48:38

By the way, that should have been 'FCUM'.

I bet nobody noticed.

Comment by EIM 2010-11-29 12:49:18

Tony, would it make you feel better if the game was being publicised by a TV station, a radio station, and the website of a respected football magazine?


Comment by Yawnnnnnn 2010-11-29 13:16:11

I'm confused? Shouldn't you be looking in Droylsden's local media, The Tameside Advertiser, for a game that's being played in Tameside?

You seem to be upset a team in a league below you was playing (according to league position) the best team still left in the competition. A team that had just recieved the news of planning position being granted for their own ground. You say yourself Droylsden attract a crowd of 400, unfortunately you'll have to appreciate news to such a small circulation isn't going to be that interesting to a vast amount of people who don't live in Tameside.

If it means anything 5Live were publicising your game on Saturday afternoon, I heard it on my trip dow to Brighton during the Villa/ Arsenal game.

Are you a City fan as well as Droylsden, you really do sound bitter?

Comment by Tony C 2010-11-29 14:13:05

"Are you a City fan as well as Droylsden, you really do sound bitter?"

Yawnnnnnnnn indeed.

Comment by INSIDE THE M60 2010-11-29 16:28:06

Just would like to point out that we are an Independent news site for Manchester nd have been covering both Droyslden's and FC's cup run this season and well as doing a lot of articles on FC's work within the Manchester community.

And yes certain parts of the local media have jumped on the FC bandwagon.We have a feature on our site today about FC's trip to Brighton aas well as a preview of tonight's Droyslden match

Inside the M60 are keeping local sport alive

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2010-11-29 17:13:05

The problem the Bloods have got is not only do they have to compete for fans with Stalybridge Celtic, Ashtons Curzon and United, Hyde FC and (perhaps) Mossley, but tonight they are also competing for fans against El Classico - as Barcelona v Real Madrid are on the other side.
Typical of the Spanish FA trying to undermine Droylsden through scheduling.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-29 17:55:13

Same could be said of East Midlands derby robbing El Classico of their viewers.

Comment by beefy 2010-11-30 01:53:14

FA cup and non league teams punching above their weight when playing pros is not just regional free paper news. All footy fans look out for the games, results, outcomes. But when the local Manchester media and TV fail to give you much airtime it's noticed. Look at the MEN website and for 5 years the non league section was called 'FC United/Non league' You are obviously a FCUM follower and trying to bring the love of your real passion into a non league debate, ie, 'Is Tony bitter? Sounds like a City fan'
The Bloods are non league, always have been, always will be barring a miracle. You are are obviously struggling with your identity and the banter to suit.
The Bloods,100 years of history non league and proud. Bitter? Get a life

Comment by beefy 2010-11-30 01:56:13

Inside the M60, fair play.Good to hear :)

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2010-11-30 08:30:12

Attendance: 1,762 (approx 200 away) last night. Pretty impressive.
Might go to the replay - Droyslden are the only Tameside team I've not seen in action.

Comment by dryroasted 2010-11-30 11:28:13

At the end of the day, there's more mileage for the local media in covering FCUM than any other Manchester non-league club. FCUM are a very cheap and accessible way of covering the Manchester United brand. There's FCUM's own hardcore base and the curious, casual United fan who'll be interested.

Its not FCUM's fault either - they have a club, have done extremely well with it and its their interests to maximise the situation for their club's benefit.

As someone who supports a non-league club in Manchester I do feel a bit insecure about FCUM, particularly as no other non-league club in the area can compete with them for manpower and support. At times they are treated by the media round here as the only non-league club that seems to matter. That is damaging for the other clubs in this area.

I stress that's its clearly not FCUM's intention to hog the media and drain coverage away from other clubs, and I have a great admiration for a lot of what they've done in a short space of time. But the likes of Droylsden (and Dave Pace who's ploughed a fortune into the place) deserve a lot better from the local media - perhaps the sooner FCUM can get to the football league the better.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-30 13:26:39

As I said before, FC United invented non-league football.

Comment by EIM 2010-11-30 17:53:19

The MEN stopped reporting on FC United when Stuart Brennan, a United supporter, was moved to cover Manchester city. This, of course, had nothing to do with a certain former toolmaker's apprentice refusing to talk to Brennan as long as he continued to publicise FC United of Manchester in the local paper. Of course not.

Comment by FFFFFC 2010-12-05 17:49:22

This debate would be more credible if it were people arguing that every non-League club should receive equal coverage instead of people complaining that their own club doesn't receive as much as one particular club.

It would also be more credible if the ire were directed at the media organisations involved rather than at FC United. If Droylsden were getting more than their fair share of coverage, how many Droylsden fans would be writing into, say, the local paper demanding that some of that attention be given to other local clubs?

In the first round proper, Droylsden beat Havant & Waterlooville while FC United beat a team 95 places and nearly five divisions above them. It's pretty obvious which is going to be the bigger story which is going to carry on to some extent into the next round.

As for the idea that FC United invented non-League football, you tend to hear that coming mainly from fans of clubs which (6 years ago) were smugly convinced that (and behaved as if) it was themselves who had invented non-League football.

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