Millionaires, non-league and a bout of handbags

The millionaires of Manchester United, their royal parade enhanced by a new carousel of imported foreign talent, were in a five star hotel in Seattle, USA.

Their manager Louis Van Gaal was pondering a selection headache over which super-rich stars he had to leave out for the start of their pre-season tour.

Back in England, it was all a bit different for the humble part-timers of FC United of Manchester.

They are the non league club set up 10 years ago to protest, ironically, about the American ownership of Old Trafford.

Their fans hadn’t much taken to a new Yankee figurehead that knew little about ‘soccer’ but did know a lot about Wall Street.

They didn’t like the prices they had to pay for seats at The Theatre of Dreams and all the associated merchandise.

Sheffield FC's James Gregory against FC. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield FC's James Gregory against FC. Picture: Andrew Roe

Football, as many of their old-guard supporters know it, had been bought out by an international corporation.

Ofcourse, you won’t hear too many modern day Manchester United fans complaining at the moment, with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian joining the Premier League payroll.

But if results start off like they did last season, you might well do.


Sheffield FC's Richard Tims. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield FC's Richard Tims. Picture: Andrew Roe

No more than fans at any other club at the higher echelon of the world’s top League.

Yet fickle isn’t something you can level at the fans who turned up last night for a friendly between Sheffield FC, the oldest club in the world, and FC United of Manchester, who have yet to play a League game at their newly built ground.

Non League is decidedly non-glamorous.

FC have just been promoted and in the coming campaign will take on the high-rollers of Solihull Moors, Lowestoft Town and Chorley.

Sheffield ‘Club’ are below FC in the pecking order, they are in the Northern Premier League Division One South, level eight of the English football league system.

Finances haven’t been good lately for a Sheffield team that plays outside of Sheffield, in Dronfield.

But all the hardships to keep both clubs afloat were put to one side tonight when the sides took to the pitch at the Coach and Horses ground on the edge of South Yorkshire and north Derbyshire.

It was a fairly uneventful 0-0 draw.

But fans, at this level, are not glory hunters. They were there to simply to watch football.

OK, have a pint and watch football, perhaps.

It was £8 to get in for adults, yet people heading for the club cafe were to be disappointed - the “new kitchen wasn’t quite ready to serve ‘owt hot” said one steward. “There’s a pasty van outside, I think.”

Still, a can of pop could be bought for £1 and a Twix 50p.

On the immaculate pitch, Sheffield did themselves proud on the night.

Visiting keeper Nick Culkin (who signed for Manchester United in 1995 from York, as an understudy to Peter Schmeichel) pulled off three excellent saves to stop the home forwards.

Club’s Temi Raheem was inches away with another beautifully crafted curling effort from 20 yards.

But the beauty of non league was summed up when there was a brief skirmish between three or four players from both sides.

Goalie Culkin shouted to the fans: “That’s embarrassing - just handbags, that. Bring back the 80s” the 37-year-old added punching one glove into another.

I can’t see David de Gea doing that, some how.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from non league