One can understand a certain anger in Moston at the discovery that Manchester council has made provision to lend £500,000 towards the building of FC United’s new stadium.
Many residents who objected to the plans for the 5,000-capacity stadium now see the prospect of their council tax being given over not just in grant funding, but also in this potential loan to the club.
Undoubtedly, some people living in Moston did support this grand plan, but the objectors felt that many of those campaigning in favour of the stadium came not just from outside Moston but outside Manchester. Those objectors will feel a further sense of injustice that ‘out-of-towners’ will also now benefit if this loan option is taken up by FC United if the club is unable to raise enough through its community share scheme.
Storm as Manchester council offers FC United a £500k loan towards new Moston stadium
That said, this stadium should be an enhancement to Moston. Regeneration has gone hand- in-hand with sport in Manchester; that is beyond dispute. And a population with such problems of chronic ill-health and obesity – particularly among children – needs all the sporting opportunities it can get.
Let us not forget that the FC United stadium directly benefits Moston Juniors FC, which gets youth pitches in the development, and the wider community who will be encouraged to get involved in activities at this new public space.
But should a council still reeling from a disastrous cut in its grant from central government really be investing in a comparatively new football club?
This will be a loan given at commercial rates of interest, yes, but you do not have to go far to find long-established football clubs unable to pay their debts.
Would the prudent solution be to wait until FC United raises this cash through its own share scheme?
This will avoid the need to take up the council’s offer of the loan and allow the club to move forward without the burden of debt.