FC United of Manchester, the Red Rebels, is stepping up a bid to build a new stadium this week. The breakaway club will present plans for a 5,000 capcity stadium at Moston, near Newton Heath, at Moston Methodist Church on Tuesday evening, in the face of local opposition. Moston is FC United’s second attempt at building a permanent home for the six-year-old club, after plans to build at Ten Acres Lane, Newton Heath, fell through earlier this year.
However, strong local opposition to FC United’s plans could thwart the club’s ambitions before ground is broken, with more than 3,000 people having reportedly signed a petition opposing the stadium’s development. The City council is due to make a planning decision in July, with FC United stepping up its efforts to win over both local government and residents.
In addition to presenting plans tonight, club management will hold a series of consultation sessions in Moston next week, while delivering 10,000 leaflets to local residents.
FC will submit final plans for a £3.5 million stadium later this summer, with the club hoping to raise around half the development costs from a long-running community shares scheme.
The stadium, which includes both terracing and seats for up to 5,000 fans, will include a range of community facilities, according to the club. IT and teaching rooms, a full-sized artificial pitch and medical treatment facilities will be made available to the public.
“As part of our pre-planning consultation we want to give residents as much information as possible about the proposals,” said general manager and former fanzine editor Andy Walsh.
“We have had a very positive response from local people and we are continuing to discuss any remaining matters of concern that residents have.
“This development isn’t just about football, it’s about creating a community facility with open access to the people of Moston and north Manchester. It’s about proposals that create the opportunity to enhance the existing provision in the local area.
“FC United are trying to minimise the impact on the local area and we want to reassure residents that their concerns will be listened to.”
FC currently play home matches at Bury’s Gigg Lane but need a permanent home to curtail prohibitive rental costs associated with crowds that average more than 2,000 in the seventh tier of the English football pyramid.