FC United could be in their new stadium in time for next season – with the help of their devoted fans.
The ambitious football club, born out of the anti-Glazer movement at Manchester United, have submitted plans for a 5,000-capacity ground.
Now they have launched a community share scheme aimed at raising £1.5m of the £3.5m needed to pay for the new complex in Newton Heath, where the original Reds were founded.
Today, the M.E.N. can reveal that £400,000 has already been pledged – and if the money keeps rolling in the club could kick off the 2011/12 season at the Ten Acre Lane site.
The plans are due to go before Manchester council in November. General manager Andy Walsh said: “The pledges to the share scheme so far are £400,000.
“We had a soft launch on our website six weeks ago and have had several people donating £20,000 each.
“The plan is to be there in time for August 2012 but if everything goes to plan we could bring that forward to August 2011.” The club currently play at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground. They are in the Northern Premier League – three promotions away from the Football League.
The shares scheme, which allows fans and businesses to invest between £200 and £20,000, will make football history, says Andy. He added: “We want as much involvement from the people of Newton Heath as we can get and so if they can’t make £200 we are looking at ways around it like paying in instalments.”
Aside from the community shares scheme the Rebels are applying for £1.5m in grants. The final £1/2m will come from fundraising – and £300,000 of that has already been found.
The M.E.N. also understands fans are to be consulted over the name of the new stadium if it goes ahead.
Andy said: “We are a one-member, one-vote club and we will go through the usual process.
“The fans were consulted on the name, the badge, everything. This will be no different.”