South Shields announce high-profile friendly v Man United spin-off club FC United

FC United manager Karl Marginson
FC United manager Karl Marginson

South Shields have revealed they will play a high-profile pre-season friendly against FC United of Manchester this summer.

FC United - a breakaway club from Premier League giants Manchester United - will visit Mariners Park on Saturday, July 22 for a 3pm kick-off.

The club, which was set up in 2005, is one of the best-supported in non-league football, with an average attendance of 2,667 last season.

They finished 13th in the National League North, and South Shields joint manager Lee Picton says the friendly will be a "good gauge" for the Mariners ahead of next season's campaign in the Evo-Stik League First Division North.

He said: "We're really looking forward to welcoming FC United to Mariners Park this summer.

"Not only should it be a great match against a high-profile non-league club, but it should also be a good gage for us.

"They are in a position which we aspire to be in two or three years' time, and this game should give us an idea of how far away we are.

"We'll be pitting our wits against a side of real quality and it will be an excellent test for us."

It is often said that FC United was set up in protest to Malcolm Glazer's takeover of Manchester United, but those involved at the club say that was merely the final straw for a group of supporters who had grown tired of changing kick-off times, all-seater stadia, diminishing atmospheres and increasing ticket prices, and not the sole reason.

Karl Marginson has been the club's manager since its formation, and FC United's home kit is red shirts with white shorts.

They are the largest fan-owned football club in the UK, based on the number of members, who all have equal voting rights and own one share in the club each.

Three consecutive promotions were achieved after their formation in 2005 and a fourth promotion was secured in 2015 to see them into the National League North.