FC United are to step up security when building work starts on their new stadium, after a spate of attacks.
As revealed by the M.E.N. last week, vandals used weedkiller to etch a protest in the turf of the Ronald Johnson Playing Fields, where they plan to move.
Attackers burnt out 10ft letters spelling out ‘No to FC Utd’ on the land in Moston, poured concrete into goal posts and sprayed anti-FC United graffiti on a container in an attack branded ‘pathetic’ by council chiefs.
The club have been given planning permission to build a 5,000-capacity stadium on the fields and had hoped to start work before the autumn.
But a residents’ group opposed to the £3.5m plans, Residents United Residents Association, is seeking a judicial review.
It issued papers to Manchester council, which has now responded. And it is now up to the group to decide whether to mount such a challenge at the High Court.
Andy Walsh, FC United general manager, said that similar attacks over the past 12-months have forced the club to set money aside for site security.
He said: “This is a small group of people and by no means reflective.
“Moston Juniors, the junior club who, until recently, played at the fields, have suffered considerable vandalism over the last 12 months.
“Unfortunately they could not afford a security provision on the site.
“When we go on the site we have earmarked provision for a security presence.
“It is sad that a small group of people would vandalise the facilities of a junior club.
“We will be able to offer them protection from those who seek to destroy facilities for young people to play sport.”
The M.E.N. understands that RURA now has until the end of September to consider the council’s response.
If it decides to press on, a judge will then be tasked with ruling whether its case carries enough weight to justify a judicial review. Annette McGovern, chair of RURA, said: “The council has responded and we are not going to back down. We will take this as far as we can.
“We believe that there are environmental issues and that the planning process was fundamentally flawed.”