Exclusive by Mike Keegan
FC United will have to wait almost seven weeks to find out whether their dream of a new £3.5m stadium will become a reality.
Planning officers from Manchester council will deliver their verdict on the controversial proposals on September 15.
If the go-ahead is given it would end the breakaway club’s long wait for a home in the city.
Debate has been raging over the plans for the proposed 5,000 capacity ground on the Ronald Johnson Playing Fields in Moston since they were revealed in April.
FC, a co-operative formed in protest at the Glazer family’s takeover of Manchester United, say the as-yet unnamed stadium will benefit the whole community and open up a piece of land that is currently closed off. Their plans include a medical room and IT facilities as well as a club house.
However, campaigners protesting against the plans, say it will bring house prices down and cause traffic chaos. They also say a covenant on the land means it should not be developed. The Charity Commission, is to decide whether the site can be used and will give its verdict on the proposals next month.
Andy Walsh, FC United’s general manager, said: “We really have done everything we can. Two of the three local councillors are supporting us and we have been surprised at the backing from residents which is increasing all the time.”
If FC are given the green light they could be kicking off at the ground in time for the 2012/13 season.
Joanne Hilton, who is campaigning against the move, urged the council to ‘do the right thing’. She said: “We do not want it here and they need to do the right thing which is to say no.”
FC, who play in the Evo-Stick Premier Divison, have been at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground since their inception in 2005. They attract average crowds of around 2,000.