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English non league club become first ever winners of new European tournament

An English non league club have become the first ever winners of a new European tournament, with the final held in Italy on Saturday.

FC United of Manchester took on Czech Republic outfit Prague Raptors at the Stadio Romeo Neri, with the Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit winning 2-0 and lifting the trophy.

The match was planned to kick off 5pm UK time, but had to be delayed until nearer 5:45pm due to FC United fans on a delayed flight time to arrive into the country. Around 900 of them inside the stadium.


It took 20 minutes for the game’s first goal, FC United taking the lead through Ali Waddecar at close range after a Joe Duckworth cross.

The 7th tier outfit then doubled their lead, a second for FC United, this time thanks to Duckworth down the left hand side on the 40th minute.

The game continued to play out end-to-end with FC United holding on to the win and off the flares went following the full time whistle.

Greg Broadhurst, co-owner, said: “Brilliant, @FCUnitedMcr are European Champions! The inaugural @FenixTrophy winners! A European trophy is coming home to Broadhurst Park, Moston, Manchester! Well done to @nreno1977 [Neil Reynolds] for guiding the team to success, hope everyone enjoys a good night out in Rimini tonight!

“Pleased that @FCUnitedMcr have won, but really pleased for @michaelpotts19 that as our captain in his final game, he got to win a trophy at the club. He’s been great for us, a top bloke as a person. A class act. Enjoy retirement, Michael, and thanks for your service to the club”

FCUM lineup: 1. Lavercombe 2. Donahue 3. Askew 4. McGhee 5. Smith 6. Jones 7. Waddekar 8. Potts (c) 9. Linney 10. Ennis 11. Duckworth

Subs: 12. Taylor 14. Vincent 15. Anderton 16. Humphries 17. Hamer GK

What is the FENIX Trophy? The competition, created by Brera Calcio owner Alessandro Aleotti, brought together eight non-professional clubs from across the continent.

The clubs, from seven European countries, are famous for a variety of reasons including clubs that have been rebuilt and run by fans and clubs featuring significant social and cultural projects.

Aside from football the FENIX Trophy will also promote friendship between clubs from several European nations and, in the process, allow clubs from across the continent to share best practices within non-professional football. In short, it aims to build a European network of extraordinary non-professional football clubs.

Running from September until June, the FENIX Trophy saw two groups of four play home and away fixtures followed by a finals weekend in the Italian coastal resort of Rimini.

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A post shared by Fenix Trophy (@fenixtrophy)

The Fenix Trophy will run from mid-September 2021 to May 2022 with an initial group phase featuring two groups of four teams each that will play each other home and away on midweek evenings (either on Wednesdays or Thursdays) from September through to May before the tournament closes with the ‘Final 8’ phase in May 2022 when all eight clubs will meet in the seaside resort of Rimini, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, with clubs drawn against each other based on their group position to determine the final ranking of the eight clubs.

This means that each team will play seven matches in total – three home and three away games in the group phase before a final match in Rimini – and every match will be streamed live, and will be free to watch, on the tournament’s YouTube channel.

We would like to thank the Northern Premier League for giving us permission to take part in the FENIX Trophy. Any fixture against European opposition must also be sanctioned by the FA and we are in the process of obtaining the necessary approval.

The teams
Eight non-professional clubs from some of Europe’s great cities – Milan, Rome, Manchester, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Warsaw, Prague and Valencia – will be taking part in the tournament and, in addition to ourselves, they are as follows:

• Brera Calcio – the third team of Milan, founded in 2000, Brera currently play in the seventh tier of Italian football

• AFC DWS – one of the oldest football clubs in Amsterdam, Door Wilskracht Sterk were Dutch league champions in 1964 but now play in the sixth tier of amateur football in the Netherlands

• AS Lodigiani 1972 – a Rome-based club renowned for having one of the finest youth systems in Italian football (Francesco Totti is a former player)

• AKS ZLY – a supporter-owned alternative sports club from Warsaw which was founded in 2015 and aims to support its local community

• Prague Raptors – a multi-national club based in the Czech capital that was formed in 2017 and is committed to diversity and equality

• CD Cuenca-Mestallistes 1925 – the oldest amateur club in Valencia, Club Deportivo Cuenca Mestallistes 1925 plays in the seventh tier of Spanish football and recently became a supporter-owned club

• HFC Falke e.V. – a supporter-owned club founded by Hamburg fans in 2014 that currently plays in Germany’s seventh tier

Non league club FC United of Manchester also joins the new European competition running during the 2021/22 season.

The trophy
The trophy’s symbol is a phoenix which stands as a metaphor for the rebirth of new football club models and FENIX also has a meaning as an acronym based on the tournament’s aims: to create a FRIENDLY environment for clubs, players and supporters; to foster a sense of EUROPEAN togetherness; to draw attention to alternative football models by focusing on the NON-PROFESSIONAL game; to be INNOVATIVE by bringing clubs together based on their affinity rather than simply on football ranking; and to be XENIAL, a word derived from the Ancient Greek word xenos which refers to an attitude of hospitality towards strangers and a mutual respect for cultural differences.


The manager
FC United manager Neil Reynolds said before the tournament began: “To have the opportunity to manage this amazing football club on a European stage is a dream come true for me.

“I’ve heard the tales of the club’s glorious European away days and now this squad will have the chance to experience it for themselves. I cannot be complimentary enough of the work that has gone on behind the scenes to pull off this major coup.

“My excitement levels have gone through the roof and I know this will be an experience of a lifetime for all involved. It will be tremendous to see the FC fans in Europe and I will be determined to make sure that we are not just there to make up the numbers. Success is what we strive for.”

How did the group stage play out?

September 22nd 2021 
HFC Falke 0-2 Prague Raptors Football Club
(23′ Owusu, 67′ Balzhinimaev)

September 30th 2021 
AKS Zly-1-2 Brera FC
(64′, 75′ Abo el Ata (B), 84′ Celoch (Z))

October 6th 2021
CD Cuenca-Mestallistes 1925 1-2 AS Lodigiani Calcio 1972
(4′ Pasqualini (L), 20′ Tono (C), 68′ Panella (L))

October 20th 2021 
AS Lodigiani Calcio 1972 4-1 Prague Raptors Football Club
(10′ Romero (P), 57′, 70′ Finucci (L), 63′ Blandino (L), 88′ Fiorani (L))

October 27th 2021 
AKS Zly 1-6 FC United of Manchester
(8’, 25’, 61’ Holmes (U), 48’ Ennis (U), 68’ Onkiewicz (Z), 70’ Burns (U), 82’ Dodd (U))

November 17th 2021 
Prague Raptors Football Club 0-1 CD Cuenca-Mestallistes 1925
(33′ Mario)

December 1st 2021 
CD Cuenca-Mestallistes 1925 2-4 HFC Falke
(3′, 10′ Schlafke (F), 41′ Ebbecke (F), 71′ Stolte (F), 81′ Rico (C), 85′ Rubo (C))

March 5th 2022 
FC United of Manchester 10-0 AKS Zly
(4′, 42′ Duckworth, 23′ Ennis, 27′, 31′, 37′ Linney, 29′ Galloway, 61′, 70′ Bange, 78′ Smith)

April 6th 2022 
Brera FC 1-3 FC United of Manchester
(10′ Cataldi (B), 15′ Ennis (U), 19′ Waddecar (U), 90′ Linney(U))

April 21st 2022
Brera FC 1-0 AKS Zly

(73′ Vitale (B))

April 27th 2022
AS Lodigiani Calcio 1972 3-1 HFC Falke
(49′ Panella (L), 70′ Finucci (L), 76′ Riemer (F), 86′ Maione (L))

May 3rd 2022*
Venue: QUATRE CARRERES – VALENCIA (SPAIN) – *due to heavy rainfall in Valencia, the game was postponed to May 4th
CD Cuenca-Mestallistes 1925 2-4 Prague Raptors Football Club

(10′ Owusu (P), 23′ Riaza (C), 40′ Navas (C), 80′ Darvishi (P), 85′ Harris-James (P), 88′ Iliev (P))

May 4th 2022 
FC United of Manchester 2-1 Brera FC
(17′ Askew (U), 60′ Galloway (U), 63′ Abo El Ata (B))

May 10th 2022
HFC Falke 3-2 CD Cuenca-Mestallistes 1925
(36′ Rico (C), 48′, 86′ Sinemus (F), 80′ Harwardt (F), 84′ Alex (C))

May 24th 2022
Prague Raptors Football Club 3-0 AS Lodigiani Calcio 1972
(20′ Chvojan, 75′, 78′ Owusu)

May 25th 2022
HFC Falke 1-3 AS Lodigiani Calcio 1972
1-3 (45′, 95′ Panella (L), 55′ Massella (L), 61′ Riemer (F))

June 2nd 2022
Prague Raptors Football Club 3-0 HFC Falke

(27′ Darvishi, 40′ Chvojan, 85′ Askarov)

June 1 – Bronze Final
Lodigiani Calcio 1-1 Brera (2-5 pens)

June 11 – 7th/8th place play-off
Cuenca Mestallistes 2-4 AFC DWS

June 11 – 5th/6th place play-off
HFC Falke 2-2 AKS Zly (1-4 pens)

June 11 – Grand Final
Prague Raptors 0-2 FC United of Manchester

Fans reacted as the English non league club become the first ever winners of the new European tournament…


@lolatilly25: Proud to be a part of this special club. So proud of the lads. Thank you @FCUnitedMcr @nreno1977

@asbestosguy: Well done you super Reds! @FCUnitedMcr European silverware! 🇾🇪🇾🇪🇾🇪

@dan_batemannn: We are the champions!! Champions of Europe!! @FCUnitedMcr @FenixTrophy 👏🏻🇾🇪🏆

@tonimilw: Well done boys 👏👏👏

@Goggleeyedgirl: Huge congratulations to @FCUnitedMcr @nreno1977 and all the lads on winning the Fenix Trophy Final 2-0! Champions Of Europe 🏆🟥🟥⬜️⬛️⬜️🟥🟥

@Patistuta9: Ohh @FCUnitedMcr the only English team this season to win a European cup!

@altybob: Hi A Tremendous win by FC United what was the score we have done ✔ the Italian Job

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