Source: Inside The M60
FC United of Manchester is pioneering a new model in football finance with the launch of a £1.5m community share issue today.
The club, founded five years ago by Manchester United fans, is giving supporters and the wider community the chance to invest in its future by buying shares to raise funds for the development of a new £3.5m stadium, close to United’s birthplace in Newton Heath.
The 5,000-capacity stadium will be the first permanent home for the club, which currently plays at Bury FC’s ground.
It will help secure its future by providing it with a sustainable income stream, and allow it to further develop its award-winning community work. It will also provide much needed community sports and social facilities and is intended to act as a catalyst for regeneration in one of the most deprived areas in the UK.
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, November 25th.
The club hopes the share issue will raise £1.5m of the total cost of the stadium, with an equal amount coming from grant funding. The club will also raise £500,000 through donations, with £300,000 of that already raised. The stadium will fall under the club’s ‘asset lock’, a legal agreement that prevents the club’s assets being separated from the club and sold off, and ensures continued community use.
FC United is the first football club to issue community shares, a means by which community enterprises can raise capital funds. The club operates under a one member one vote system, which will remain unaffected by the share issue.
The offer is open to individuals aged 16 and over, and businesses. All shareholders must be members of FC United but non-members can join at the time of application. The offer closes on 30 November 2010.
Andy Walsh, FC United general manager, said: “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.
For more information about FC United’s community share issue, including the formal prospectus and an application form, go to: www.fc-utd.co.uk/communityshares.
The club will be holding an open meeting for any supporters or potential investors interested in finding out more about the shares and the Newton Heath plans, at the Manchester Methodist Hall at 7pm on Thursday, September 23rd.