Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Home win: FC United to build 5,000 capacity stadium in Moston

 Source: MEN

 Mike Keegan

 FC United new home is to be in Moston, the M.E.N. can reveal.

Officials from the club - formed in 2005 in protest at the Glazer family's ownership of Manchester United - have been locked in talks with council bosses since their plans for a 5,000-capacity stadium in Ten Acres Lane, Newton Heath, collapsed last month.

The Ronald Johnson Playing Fields, close to Lightbowne Road, have now been identified as the new site. It too will have a 5,000 capacity, including up to 600 seats.

FC bosses will put a planning application before Manchester council this summer with a view to kicking off the 2012/13 season in Moston.

If all goes according to plan, work could commence before the end of the year.

FC general manager Andy Walsh said the planned stadium would be very similar to that earmarked for Ten Acres Lane.

He described it as a very positive day for the club but warned there was a long way to go.

Residents in the area will be consulted and a feasibility study carried out before the club, which is run on a co-operative basis, can progress.

Mr Walsh paid tribute to the work of council officers. He said: “They have done what they told us they were going to do.”

It will have a club house and an additonal a full-size artificial pitch. There are no plans at this stage for a sports centre but that may change.

Moston Juniors currently play from the site and they would be accommodated in the scheme,..

The plug was pulled on Ten Acres Lane when town hall bosses withdrew £600,000 of funding after carrying out a spending review in the light of government cuts.

Mike Amesbury, from the council, said: "These are exciting plans which will mean further welcome investment in north Manchester.”

Broughton Park, close to Hough End playing fields, and Wythenshawe Park were looked at but neither were considered viable. FC United currently play their matches in the seventh tier of English football at Bury's Gigg Lane. They regularly attract crowds of more than 2,000.

The club has raised £1.3m through a share scheme and £400,000 in donations towards the project. They will offer payment plans to residents close to the ground who wish to buy shares.