As I've mentioned before — I'm a fan of football betting above any club. City are my team and have been for 24 years — nothing will change that.
However when I moved back to East Manchester (Gorton actually — walking distance to CoMS) I lived just off Hyde Road. What was this Hyde place? What was there? All I knew was that my mate Spider used to write the fanzine "Preston Were Lucky", one of the best fanzines to come from any club if you speak to anyone! One fateful Saturday morning I was looking at the fixture list and saw that Hyde United (aka "The Tigers") had a game against Lancaster City. United Vs City, eh? Tempting.
Me and my mate Kev jumped on a bus, and never looked back.
What we found at the ground (when we found it) was a world of football I didn't know still existed. Real pies, cheap beer in a social club that made Phoenix Nights look classy, crazy characters, real tea, a nicely kept little ground with atmosphere, a fantastic pitch (better than almost any league pitch), and supporters whose passion and sense of humour were just so refreshing to see.
You could stand up, you could sing (and boy, did we sing!), and within a few weeks I had made some great friends and found myself running the (now semi-defunct) www.eyeonthetigers.co.uk fan site.
If you've not been to a non-league football game, I can't recommend it enough, through a few years following Hyde home and away (when City weren't at home) it revitalised me and reminded me of the love for the game. We shared so many laughs, on the pitch, in the car, and in the bar with the players and managers Some fierce local rivalries and some amazing derby matches with Stalybridge Celtic — the highlight being a (admittedly) hungover Gareth Seddon scoring 5 goals in a New Years' Day 7-3 drubbing away at Bower Fold.
So why do I mention this now? Well, Hyde have been issued with a winding up order. They have this week to raise £35000, and are well on their way — tonight at the West Ham game, fans and indeed players will be out shaking buckets and looking for whatever you can help with. Manchester City have given their blessing, and indeed are already Hyde's kit sponsors for the season with a significant contribution. If each City fan gave 50p (or one of our players gave 20% of their weekly wage!) then football will go on in Hyde. If not, then their last game will have been played.
Full details here: http://eyeonthetigers.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=67
This situation has arisen because some wealthy 'backers' pulled out, leaving lots of liabilities in the form of player contracts, and a tax bill. The current chairman took the honourable option of not going into administration, and so leaving creditors out of pocket, but this has cost us in the long term. The club want to, and are nearly in a position to save themselves, and are cashflow positive with the frugal contracts.
I implore anyone that can, to dig deep tonight, and if you can't help Hyde, to at least consider going to support your local non-league team from time to time, you won't get Robinho, but you will get a real taste of football at a club where your £8 on the door will make a real difference to them.
There are full details here:
City fans have been great — but there's been support from all of football — it's heartwarming:
Superb article explaining the situation by When Saturday Comes:
Even rivals Barrow and Alty lend their support:
Right well, that's my piece — over to you guys, you can really make a difference here!