Tag FC United

Tag FC United

FC United (re)releases stadium plans

June 21, 2011 Tags: Shorts 13 comments

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.

FC United wins approval for new ground

November 16, 2010 Tags: Shorts 4 comments

FC United of Manchester, the Red Rebel club set up in the wake of the 2005 Glazer takeover at Manchester United, has won council approval for a new stadium at Ten Acres Lane, Newton Heath. The 5,000-seat ground will cost around £3.5 million, with supporters currently raising money through an innovative Community Share scheme.

Manchester council approved the club’s business plan this week and will now start a period of consultation with the local community, with a planning meeting set for 25 November.

Supporters hope to raise around one third of the capital through the share scheme, while grants and other funding with provide additional money. The stadium, situated in Newton Heath the birthplace of Manchester United, will provide much needed revenue for the Rebels, which currently pays Bury FC around £5,000 a game to rent Gigg Lane for home fixtures.

“The significance of this location is historical while it also showcases a new model of facility development, based on football supporter ownership and community involvement,” general manager Andy Walsh told the Press Association.

The new stadium will also contain facilities for year-round community use in one of the most deprived areas of Manchester.

FC United’s big day out

November 5, 2010 Tags: Opinion 23 comments

FC United of Manchester plays arguably its most important match of the club’s short five-year history tonight. Facing Rochdale in the FA Cup first round, FC United will benefit from the support of more than 4,000 traveling fans. It’s a huge achievement for the club, set up in the wake of Malcolm Glazer’s takeover in 2005.

The FC United idea was not a new one in 2005. Indeed, some fans had mooted the proposal when Rupert Murdoch tried and failed to buy Manchester United in the late 1990s. This time the mood was more militant though, with the debt-fuelled Glazer takeover one factor among many that alienated supporters from the club.

Thus FC – the Red Rebels – was born in a local curry restaurant, with £200,000 raised within weeks to create a club that stands today as an icon of a growing supporter-centric anti-commercial movement. Whatever big United supporters’ feelings about FC – and many echo Sir Alex Ferguson’s dismissive comments in which he called FC “publicity seekers” – it is hard not to feel empathy with a democratic club that not only eschews shirt sponsorship but the very worst of an overly commercialised football industry.

Karl Marginson, the 39-year-old FC United manager, mirrors many supporters’ frustration, on both sides of the divide, with Ferguson’s staunch refusal to criticise the leveraged Glazer takeover that has loaded more than £700 million debt onto big United.

“Sir Alex Ferguson is manager of Manchester United, so he needs to look after their interests, but I would be different, with the things I believe in,” Marginson told the Times.

“Coming from Glasgow, the shipyards and the trade unions, as he does, it’s disappointing.

“I’m not money-driven. It would be nice to earn a bit more, but if something like that happened [the takeover] and I was looking at the genuine fans, I would have walked away.

“I totally understand where Sir Alex is coming from, but me personally, I would have said, ‘Stuff it, I’m off.’ I would have made sure the team was in as healthy a position as it could have been and I would have given my reasons for walking away.”

But if FC remains a breakaway club in many big United supporters’ eyes, then the Bury-based outfit is slowly growing an identity that is separate from the Glazer takeover. That process will accelerate when the club moves into a planned £3.5 million new home in Newton Heath.

As with every other facet of FC United, the new stadium at Ten Acres Lane is based on both the needs of the club, community and especially its supporters. Indeed fans are expected to contribute up to one-third of the build cost though an innovative Community Shares scheme.

The 5,000-capacity stadium will be the first permanent home for FC United, which regularly plays at Bury’s Gigg Lane but has also turned out at Bower Fold, Stalybridge this season.

The new stadium will help secure FC’s future by providing a sustainable income stream, with the Rebels paying around £5,000 a match to its League Two landlords.

Support remains strong though, with three promotions in five years and an average attendance that does not look out-of-place in league football. FC United attracts around 2,000 fans each week, although during the club’s first season it boasted the second-highest average attendance in English non-League football including 6,023 for a match against Great Harwood Town in April 2006.

The club’s sustainability, despite spending a large chunk of its budget on renting Gigg Lane, is underpinned by a supporter centric ticket model. The annual £12 membership is supplemented by a season-ticket pricing policy that allows supporters to name their own price. The average is a recession busting £160 this season. Or about three games sat in the North Stand at Old Trafford.

Tonight’s fixture at Spotland will contribute to an FA Cup bounty of more than £100,000 for the club, with FC’s share of ESPN TV revenue around £67,500. It will contribute not only to the stadium development fund but ongoing success on the pitch.

What chance then of David meeting Goliath in round three should FC progress tonight and further to round three? Certainly a meeting between the two red Manchester clubs is one that would be relished by both sets of supporters. The symbiotic relationship is as yet unbroken despite the growing sense of distance some FC supporters now feel.

Marginson, a veteran of 15 lower league clubs, says that FC will always be outsiders. Yet there is more than a touch of clarity in the 39-year-old’s view of his club’s bigger brother.

“What goes on in 90 minutes is the visual side, but football has a bigger and deeper responsibility to its communities and its fans, and, excuse my French, but they’re [United fans] just getting the p*ss taken out of them,” Marginson adds.

“I don’t know whether they don’t see it or don’t want to believe it. Sometimes, if you’re in love with something, it’s hard to see the bad side of things.

“I just feel something has to change and what we’re trying to do is show there is a different way for football to exist.”

Millions will view FC’s first steps into the FA Cup proper tonight. It could be another famous chapter in a remarkable club history.

FC United launches share scheme

September 21, 2010 Tags: Shorts 2 comments

FC United of Manchester has today launched a creative community share scheme designed at raising money for a brand new stadium in Newton Heath, Manchester. The Red Rebels, which formed in the midst of the Glazer takeover of Manchester United in 2005, are currently playing at Giggs Lane, Bury – paying a hefty rental fee to the League One club.

The club is giving supporters and the wider community the chance to invest in its future by buying shares to raise funds for the development. The new £3.5 million stadium, based at Ten Acres Lane, will benefit from £1.5 million  raised through the scheme the club hopes.

The 5,000-capacity stadium will be the first permanent home for the club, which has also played at Bower Fold, Stalybridge this season.

The new stadium will help secure FC’s future by providing a sustainable income stream, says chief executive and former fanzine editor Andy Walsh.

“FC United has achieved a great deal in the five years since its foundation, despite not having a permanent home. With our own ground and community facilities we can achieve much more, making the club sustainable and fulfilling our ambition to become a beacon showing a better way for football,” said the

“At a time when many clubs are in debt or in the hands of major investors, we aim to demonstrate that there is a real alternative. We want to change the way football is run and financed by putting supporters at the heart of the game.

“This is a landmark opportunity to invest in a club bringing football back to the heart of its communities and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

FC United’s attendances have settled around the 2,000 mark, although during the club’s first season in 2005-06 it could boast the second-highest average attendance in English non-League football. The club’s record attendance is 6,023 for a match against Great Harwood Town on 22 April 2006.

FC United is launching the share issue just days after a planning application for the Newton Heath stadium was submitted to Manchester City Council, with a decision due on Thursday, 25 November.

FC United lights way with return to spiritual home

March 25, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion No comments

FC United of Manchester is to build a 5,000 seat stadium in Newton Heath – the birthplace of modern Manchester United. Disaffected supporters set up FC United after the Glazers’ takeover in 2005, with games being played at Bury’s Gigg Lane this season. The new ground will offer a permanent home for the Red Rebels.

The democratic supporter-owned and run club proposes to include community sports facilities at the stadium, which has been given an ‘amber’ light by Manchester City Council. The stadium, which requires £3.5 million in funding, is to be built at the existing Ten Acres Lane sports ground (above) in the North East of the city.

“FC United, New East Manchester and Manchester City Council have been working closely over the past two years to develop the plans and consultation will now progress with local residents, community groups and FC United members who own the club,” said a club statement today.

“FC United is working to secure the finance for the £3.5m development, which will include a public appeal for donations, a Community Shares issue and grant funding.”

Managed by Karl Marginson, FC United lies 12th in the Unibond League Premier Division, which is the seventh rung of the football pyramid, following three promotions in five years. Despite just missing out on a spot in the Unibond play-offs last season the club has failed to progress on the pitch this campaign.

FC United eschews shirt sponsorship as a direct result of the perceived over-commercialisation of football that took place at United in the lead-up to the Glazer takeover. But renting a stadium costs the club around £3,000 per match – a situation General Manager Andy Walsh is keen to change.

“The announcement will be a big boost to the club and we also want the development to be of benefit to Newton Heath, the discussions with the council have been very positive and we are grateful for their support,” added Walsh.

“The significance of this location is historical while it will also showcase a new model of facility development, based on football supporter ownership and community involvement.”

The Ten Acres Lane stadium will be ready by the 2012/13 season said the club today. FC United averages crowds of just under 2,000, although nearly 3,000 saw the side’s first FA Cup tie earlier this season. The new ground may even attract a greater local following given the level of dissatisfaction at Old Trafford with the Glazer family’s ownership.

Not that FC United supporters have eschewed all affinity with big brother just six miles across town. Green and gold is regularly seen at FC’s matches, although the side plays in a very traditional red and white kit.

Perhaps most pertinently the club has kept ticket prices to a minimum, with a “pay-what-you-can-afford” policy meaning season tickets cost from £90 for adults and £21 for children.

With no little irony, FC United’s is a model of club ownership that the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) is keen to follow should a Red Knights’ backed bid prove successful in the coming months.