FC United's love affair with Rory Patterson is no mystery

The love affair between Rory Patterson and FC United of Manchester is one which has stood the test of time.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 5:22 pm

He may have arrived at the club as a relative unknown, but he had written himself into club folklore when he left three years later, and is still a cult hero with their passionate fans to this day.

It's unsurprising really given that he scored a remarkable 99 goals in 129 games as the club completed a hat-trick of promotions.

'Mr Mystery's' place in the FC United history books is secured and the place will always carry special memories for the 36-year-old.

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Rory Patterson pictured with George Haydon (FC United original kitman) and Dave Brown, who was assistant to former boss Karl Marginson

Patterson was back in the club colours at the weekend and doing what he does best as part of the FC United Legends side who took on the current first team as the club's Broadhurst Park ground reopened again after six months due to Covid-19.

The current stars ran out 5-3 winners in what was dubbed as "the friendliest of friendlies", but Patterson rolled back the years with a sublime finish, one which the home fans had been accustomed to during his successful spell at the club.

Speaking to FC United TV afterwards the striker played down the strike saying: "I didn't fancy running against the kids! Thankfully I caught it nice and it went in.

"I loved it, a lot of us have obviously lost touch so it was good to catch up with everybody again.

"It was great to be back where it really all started for me. I know I was at Rochdale but this really propelled me in my career.

"I was glad to come back and get a goal and play some part.

The fans also treated Patterson, aka Mr Mystery and the Man with No Name, to the full repertoire of songs on the day.

For the former Coleraine and Derry City man it brought back some special memories.

"A few people have asked me about the story of me coming on with no number on my shirt.

"It was my first game, it was a pre-season match and there were 4,000 people there.

"We were actually late getting there and the manager said for me to just grab a shirt.

"The shirt that was left was the blood shirt so there was no number on it.

"The fans were all wondering who I was and they started to sing about the Man with No Name.

"That and Mr Mystery stuck with me, it was some experience. The early days were something special here."

They certainly were special and the huge support for the club is something which blew Patterson away.

"I remember going to Old Trafford with one of my mates for a European game," he recalled.

"We were in one of the bars in the ground, it was packed and they all started singing that Mr Mystery song to me.

"Obviously technology back then wasn't like it was today so I had to explain to everyone back home what it was like.

"I remember Neil McCafferty came up to see me when his season had finished at Charlton.

"He came to our game and couldn't believe the scenes outside the game. It really was a special time."