MEN, by Pamela Welsh
Supporters of FC United have raised more than £1m towards the club’s new 5,000 capacity stadium.
Fans have been rushing to take part in a pioneering ‘community shares’ scheme – giving them a stake in the club as well as raising money towards the planned ground at Ten Acres Lane in Newton Heath.
They have crossed the £1m threshold in less than three months on their way to a target of £1.5m.
The new stadium, which was given the green light by Manchester council in November, will cost a total of £3.5m.
The rest of the cash will come from grant funding and donations.
The semi-professional club – formed out of the anti-Glazer movement at Manchester United five years ago – now has until February to reach the £1.5m target.
FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: “We still have some way to go but to have raised more than £1m in shares is a phenomenal achievement.
“A further £200,000 has been pledged to date and although we still have to turn these pledges into cash, we can say we are now on the home straight with the shares offer.
“Our progress shows support is growing for our campaign to see football clubs owned and run by supporters and is a tremendous tribute to the efforts of everybody at FC United.
“We are now working hard, pulling together our grant applications. It is an extremely competitive process but we have some great support from partners and hope that the funding bodies will recognise our submissions as strong bids that will bring real economic benefit to Newton Heath.”
Investors can purchase £1 shares to a value ranging from £200 up to £20,000.
The offer is open to businesses and anyone aged 16 and over. All shareholders must be members of FC United but non-members can join at the time of application.
The news of the fundraising milestone caps an extraordinary few weeks for the Evo-Stik Premier club, which currently shares a ground with Bury FC.
FC United reached the second round of the FA Cup, attracting a record home attendance against League One Brighton in a game seen by a global television audience. The offer closes on February 28, 2011.
Full details of the scheme are can be found at www.fc-utd.co.uk/communityshares