Source: The Guardian
• Supporter club heading for Manchester United's birthplace
• Plans for 5,000-capacity stadium approved by council
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 25 March 2010 15.02 GMT
A match programme for a game played in 1890 between Newton Heath, later to become Manchester United, and Bolton Wanderers. Photograph: Christopher Thomond
FC United of Manchester are set to move to the birthplace of Manchester United after announcing plans for a new ground in Newton Heath.
Manchester United were formed as Newton Heath in 1878 before joining the Football League in 1892. They changed their name 10 years later. Now the Unibond Premier League club, formed by United fans angered by the controversial Glazer takeover in 2005, have drawn up plans for a £3.5m, 5,000-capacity stadium at the Ten Acres Lane sports centre. The club's business plan was approved by Manchester city council, which owns the site, on Monday, and will now be put to local residents and community groups.
Their general manager, Andy Walsh, told the Press Association: "We are delighted to be able to make this announcement and discussions with the council have been very positive to date. 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."
FC United currently play their home games at Bury's Gigg Lane ground, and top the Unibond Premier attendance tables with an average of 1,941 fans. If the new stadium gets the go-ahead it could be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season.
"You can't get away from the emotion of the location but this is as much about our future as the past and we are a club laying down our roots," Jules Spencer, an FC United board member, told Reuters. "The ironic thing is the decision [to form the club] was made at a time of United's greatest successes, but there is a general malaise about the game not just about what the Glazers have done. We are trying to create a positive alternative for ordinary fans. We are not trying to claim the moral high ground. The vast majority of people watch their football through the television and that is something we want to change."