Village Manchester FC was formed in 1996 by a small, yet determined group of friends who created a team to enable like minded individuals to play a sport they were passionate about in a competitive local league. Motivation was, in part, to prove a point against a common view that a gay team could not compete in a predominantly straight league but more importantly – win, lose or draw – the club was a focal point for all involved to keep fit and socialise together.
This competitive, social and fun approach to the game continues today.
In the early years, attracting sufficient numbers of players to turn out and play for the club on a regular basis was an achievement in itself. VMFC found life in the league tough going in the first six years of competing in Division 1 of the Manchester Accountants league. Despite this, win, lose or draw, the players continued to wear the shirt with pride week in week out as well as representing Manchester at numerous football tournaments around the world including Washington (1997), Amsterdam (1998), Florida (1999) and Cologne (2000).
The first taste of success on the field came in 2001 when the club reached the semi final of the IGLFA World Championship in London. Following this achievement, the club reached the semi final of the League Cup in 2003 and finally gained promotion to the Premier Division in 2004.
2006/7 League Winners
2004 - VMFC in Munich
2004 Euro Games
Village Manchester FC took their new found confidence to Munich at the 2004 Euro Games and competed against the best 15 gay football teams from around Europe. The club did itself proud. Village Manchester FC were one of only two teams to remain undefeated in open play throughout the whole competition. We were only beaten on penalties in the quarter finals by the then IGLFA World Champions.
2004/5 saw the club stretch expectations further. After adapting quickly to life in the League's Premier Division, VMFC finished in a respectable 6th position in the first season when traditionally previously promoted teams often experienced an immediate return through relegation to the lower league.
2005/6 - first trophy! League Cup
Recognition for the manner in which the club handled itself over the season resulted in VMFC being awarded the 2005 Manchester FA Fair Play award.
In August 2005 the club traveled to Copenhagen to compete in the IGLFA World Championships and surpassed all previous achievements at a gay football tournament by remaining unbeaten in open play, reaching the final and just missing out on becoming World Champions in a close match which ended 1-1 after extra time, eventually losing the penalty shoot out against Paris.
2007 GFSN Cup Winners
2006 - First ever trophy win
The experience gained from this tournament instilled a new found confidence that carried through to the new 2005/6 season and would ultimately lead to VMFC’s most successful two year period by winning a first ever trophy. In 2005/6 we finished fourth in the league and in the following year we were crowned Manchester Accountants League Premier Division Champions.
As so often happens after periods of success and growth, the club has experienced a transitional period with many established players hanging up their boots to retire into the now infamous VMFC Hall of Fame and others moving away from Manchester for pastures new.
Despite this, the club continued to attract new players and supporters and whilst 2007/8 season did not produce any silverware during a difficult season for the first team, the club traveled to South America to compete in the IGLFA World Cup in Argentina. We reached the quarter final stages and capped the season off with our second team victorious in a nail biting GFSN Cup Final eventually winning 3-2 thanks to an injury time winning goal and in turn delivering a third domestic trophy in three seasons for the club.
2008 and beyond
In the 2008/9 season the club continued to build momentum, welcoming yet more new faces to the team, a successful club tour to the Barcelona Euro Games and reaching the semi final of the Umbro International Tournament during the summer of 2008. Summer 2008 saw the club victorious in two Pride events: the Ford Motors London Pride 5-a-side and the Manchester Pride Tournament.
We picked up more silverware in 2009 winning the GFSN Winter Tournament, and repeated this in the 2010 Winter Tournament, having also been finalists in the 2010 Summer Tournament.
2010/11 was a good season with the club ending the Accountants League as runners up, getting silver in the first IGLFA European Cup which was held in Manchester with the aid of VMFC, silver winners for the first team in the first division of the EuroGames in Rotterdam, and gold winners for the second team in the second division in Rotterdam. At the start of 2011/12 we also won the London Titans Tournament.
It was also in 2010/11 that VMFC's second team, under the management of Matt Hall, really came into its own, building up the amount of football being played until eventually joining a Sunday league of its own.
2012 saw us win the gold medal in the second division of the EuroGames in Budapest during what all considered to be an awesome tour: a beautiful city, boiling hot weather and a gold medal! During the summer we were also winners and runners up in the GFSN Summer Tournament in Glasgow (always good fun when the team gets to play with itself!)
2006/7 League Champions
2007 - IGLFA World Cup, Argentina
It was in summer 2013 that VMFC achieved its greatest glory - winning the IGLFA European Cup in Dublin. We took two teams. The firsts went to win, beating old rivals Stonewall in the semi final and hosts Dublin Devils in the final. The seconds, who were joined by friends from Leicester Wildecates Nottingham Ball Bois and Mersey Marauders, went do drink and have fun. And in that respect they also won gold!
This was followed later in the summer with a trip to the World OutGames in Antwerp, where VMFC came fourth.
2013 was also our first win the It's a Gay Knockout, the unofficial start to Manchester Pride. This was repeated in both 2014 (winners and runners up) and 2015.
Always the bridesmaid...
2014 saw a successful GFSN Cup run take us all the way to the final at England FA's impressive St George's facility, losing out to London Romans, but saw us win in Cardiff's European City of Sport's Unity Tournament.
2015's Accountants League season was a difficult one for the club, finishing ninth out of 10 and only avoiding relegation from the Premier Division due to the number of new teams in the lower division. The second team also struggled in the City Central League; reorganisation of the League led to two divisions merging and a resulting disparity in the quality of the teams.
However, we made it to the GFSN Cup semi final and won silver medals at the EuroGames in Stockholm. We'd earlier in the summer missed out on medals at the IGLFA European Cup in Hamburg but had a great tournament.
Late 2015 was a sad time for VMFC as we lost one of our players. AJ was a much loved member of the club, and had also played for Yorkshire Terriers and Nottingham Ball Bois. We were proud to take part in, and honoured to win, the AJ Memorial Tournament.
2016 marks the club's 20th anniversary and the club will continue to do what it does best: provide a safe, welcoming place for people of all backgrounds to play inclusive football; promote gay and inclusive football to a wider audience; and socialise like there's no tomorrow!
Our first team has made the exciting move to the 108 year old Lancashire and Cheshire League after nearly two decades in the Manchester Accountants League. Our second team plays in the GFSN League and Cup and in 2015 took part in the inaugural Northern Cup featuring seven Scottish and Northern English gay and inclusive teams. 2016 sees the new M62 Unite League with VMFC taking on Mersey Marauders and Yorkshire Terriers.
We are currently planning our tour to Miami in 2017 for the World OutGames.
We don't care who you love, as long as you love football!
2011 - Both teams at the Rotterdam EuroGames
2013 - VMFC are European champions!
1998 - Amsterdam tour - our oldest team photo
Village Manchester Football Club
gay and inclusive football since 1996
2015 - VMFC v London Leftfooters in the GFSN League