Thursday, February 04, 2010
Source: North East Manchester Advertiser
February 04, 2010
The rebel football club FC United of Manchester has been urged to build its planned new stadium in Newton Heath.
The club is hoping to unveil plans for a 4,000-seater ground within the next few months and Newton Heath – the area which spawned Manchester United – is seen by some fans as the romantic option.
Formed by breakaway Manchester United fans, in protest to the Glazers’ takeover of the Old Trafford club in 2005, the Red Rebels are currently ground-sharing Bury FC’s Gigg Lane stadium.
However, despite attracting average crowds of more than 2,000 per match, the financial burden of using the Bury ground has forced FC United to pursue its dream of finding its own hallowed turf with earnest.
The club is currently in talks with Manchester Council over a number of potential sites but councillor John Flanagan believes the club shouldn’t look any further than Newton Heath.
"We would certainly welcome FC United putting a stadium in Newton Heath," he said. "I know they have been looking at where United used to play when they were in Newton Heath and it would be good to bring that land back into use.
"FC United have a record of working with schools and the local community and that is the sort of club we would want here."
He added: "It would be good news, not just for the community, but the local economy.
"There is a lot of investment coming into the area. If the stadium is built it will be on a brownfield site and will bring that back into use.
"A lot of things have been clicking into place in Newton Heath in the last year and if FC United can fit into that jigsaw it’ll be fantastic. The club has the potential to grow and grow and it’ll will no doubt bring some jobs to the area."
The club itself is playing its cards close to its chest over the sites being considered. Officials say the new ground will include community facilities and that they are is optimistic an announcement is close.
FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: "We’re at quite an advanced stage. We are in discussions with the council and looking at a few sites but can’t be any more specific than that. We want to find a site that is best for the city, for ourselves and residents."
He added: "We are not at liberty to say yeah or neah over any sites. It is a matter of record that we are talking to the council but with the economic climate the feasibility of certain sites drop in and drop out.
"We’re hoping in the next few months that with the council that we can make an announcement."
A council spokesman said: "It is the council’s policy not to comment on any pre-application discussions."