After previewing three of the five sides to join the Evo-Stik Premier Division for the 2019-20 campaign, we preview the penultimate side who will be joining us next season, with Neil Reynolds’ FC United of Manchester.

Season Summary

Position: 21st (Relegated from National League North)
Top Scorer: Kurt Willoughby (15)

The Red Rebels began the campaign poorly with three straight defeats, to eventual champions Stockport County, as well as Ashton United and Boston United. Their first win of the season came against Altrincham, with a 2-1 victory over Phil Parkinson’s side.

Manager Tom Greaves departed the club just a few months into the campaign to join Hyde United to see his return to full-time playing rather than his player-manager role at Broadhurst Park. To replace Greaves, United turned to Bamber Bridge to appoint Neil Reynolds.

However, the new managerial appointment was unable to turn the ship around as FC were relegated, ten points from safety. Reynolds’ side managed nine wins all year with the second-worst goal difference in the National League North, with -43.

Reynolds will be looking to guide FC United to an immediate return following their first ever relegation since forming in 2005.

Home Comforts

Broadhurst Park has been the home of FC United since 2015 ahead of their first campaign in the National League North. It opened with the Red Rebels hosting Portugese giants Benfica to commemorate the anniversary for Manchester United’s 1968 European Cup win.

The pitch is surrounded with four covered stands, the St. Mary’s Road End (east), the North Stand, the Lightbowne Road End (west) and the Main Stand (south), and holds around four-and-a-half thousand people. It will be another new ground for supporters of the Dabbers to visit after their last away game at FC came at Bower Fold, the home of Stalybridge Celtic.

In the Dugout – Neil Reynolds

Neil Reynolds joined FC United from Bamber Bridge in October 2018 and was unable to keep the Red Rebels in the National League system. The manager is well-versed in non-league football and is an asset to the board at Broadhurst Park after guiding Bamber Bridge to promotion in his first full season in charge, and also won the Evo-Stik Premier Division Challenge Cup in April 2017. Reynolds holds a UEFA B coaching license and has also spent time with Darwen and Clitheroe.

Last Time We Met

Nantwich were minutes away from snatching a point at Bower Fold back in January 2015, but a last-minute winner from Craig Lindfield (who has since spent time at the Weaver Stadium) condemned the Dabbers to a 2-1 defeat. Iain Howard had given Danny Johnson’s side an early lead, before Tom Greaves levelled the proceedings in the second half. Nantwich battled the conditions and a strong FC side that would eventually be crowned Evo-Stik Premier Division champions, but Lindfield’s late winner prevented any points from coming back to South Cheshire.