|Locals with placards reading "Save the |
peoples (sic) park. Say no to FC United"
The women leaving out the apostrophe
in the picture are Joanne Hilton and
Mike Keegan - April 19, 2011
Hundreds of people have launched a campaign to block a bid to use playing fields for a new stadium for rebel football club FC United of Manchester.
The club – formed in protest at the Glazer family’s ownership of Manchester United – want to build a 5,000 capacity stadium on the council-owned Ronald Johnson playing fields, close to St Mary’s Road and Lightbowne Road in New Moston.
But people living close to the site – currently home to a junior football team – have vowed to fight the plans. Nearly 1,000 have signed a petition against the proposals, which they are to take to the town hall.
FC United, who have played at Bury's Gigg Lane ground since being formed in 2005, want to move to Manchester. Joanne Hilton, who lives on St Mary’s Road, said: "The community does not want this. It’s our local field and it has always been for us.
"There isn’t much greenery in Moston and we don’t want a stadium here.
"It has nothing to do with football. This field was gifted to the public and nothing was ever meant to be built here. There will be crowds, cars and there will be alcohol and the problems that causes."
The plans are expected to go before the council for approval in July.Moston Juniors currently hold a lease at the site until 2032 and pay £1,000 rent a year.
A spokesman for Moston Juniors said they had held positive meetings with FC United and the council.
Andy Walsh, general manager of FC United, who play in English football's seventh tier, said: "Football matches would be played there 25 to 30 days a year.
"We have always dealt with things in an open and honest way.
"The people of Moston Juniors and Moston are the very people whose views we have to take into account. This is not just about football, it's about creating a community facility and that is all part of the consultation over the coming weeks."
Moston councillor Paul Murphy said that the plans were far from a done deal.
He said: "There is a covenant on the land and the Charity Commission need to be satisfied this can happen. And if Moston Juniors are not happy with the plans, this is not a goer."
Eamonn O'Rourke, from the council, said: "We asked FC United to carry out a full public consultation and this is now under way. All representations will be taken into consideration before any final decision is made."