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Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town Stare Into The Abyss
Someone in FC United’s offices at Hope Mill in Manchester is very good at burying bad news. On Wednesday night the team suffered their heaviest ever defeat, 1-5, handed out by rivals, league leaders, and all round terrible bastards Bradford Park Avenue. Supporters could be forgiven for waking up Thursday morning and feeling a little bit glum.
But instead of long faces, hangdog expressions, and a forum full of idiots clogging the place up with their ill-targeted rants, there was a collective expulsion of noise, a primal belch that sounded a lot like “OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!”
Rumours had been flying for a long time over the proposed location of FC United’s new ground. According to cabbies and internet railway enthusiasts, the club would eventually find itself playing in Newton Heath, the spiritual and original home of Manchester United. Each new rumour sent fans scurrying on to Google maps, surveying the area for available land. But due to the nature of these things, no official announcement could be made.
Until Thursday morning.
It was a joyous morning. The sort of morning that can clear your fuzzy head and make you forget what a considerable beating you got the night before. In my inbox sat an email from ‘the FC United good news dept.’ with the subject ‘FCUM ANNOUNCE LOCATION OF PROPOSED STADIUM’. Just like that. It was in uppercase as it’s not the sort of news you can say quietly. I tried saying it quietly to the girlfriend but ended up bellowing it full blast in to her face. She somehow maintained her sang froid and asked me if I wanted owt from the shops. I didn’t.
It turns out the cabbies and internet railway enthusiasts were right all along. The proposed site is set to be in Newton Heath, less than half a mile away from Bank Street, Manchester United (then Newton Heath LYR)’s first ever ground. The site is a council owned sports centre on Ten Acres Lane. And while the links to the history of Manchester United are romantic for a team primarily run for and by Manchester United fans, it’s all just a beautiful coincidence.
According to FC United General Manager Andy Walsh, the primary concern was to have a ground within three miles of the city centre. Not only to make the prospect of attending a game more inviting to local people, but to ensure the club has a community to support. It’s a core belief of the club, locked in to the club constitution: “The club will develop strong links with the local community and strive to be accessible to all, discriminating against none.” At the same time that FC United fans were receiving the good news, leaflets were being posted through letterboxes in the Ten Acres Lane area letting the population know that this was as much for them, as it was for us.
The ground itself is to be a 5000 capacity, with seven to eight hundred seats, costing in the region of £3.5million. It’s a modest size, but a realistic one. Should FC United ever reach Conference National level or above, it doesn’t take a Roald Dahl-like imagination to see the place full. In the Northern Premier League, stuck out in Bury, crowds have leveled out at the 2000 mark. But the record attendance remains the 6023 that saw the North West Counties League division 2 trophy presented to the team in 2006. Aside from the ground, there are to be sports facilities for the local area, an all weather 3G pitch, changing rooms, sports and community hall, and whatever else it is felt is needed. Walsh was keen to stress that this side of things was a blank page, and that local residents had as much a say in what they want there as anyone else.
The giddiness was temporarily punctuated by the reality that this is only a proposed site. That planning permission and the consent of the locals is still required to make this a goer. But when have football fans ever let fact get in the way of a good goon? Regardless of future politicking, this is the first important step to building FC United a new home. Now there’s just the small case of raising the £3.5 million needed to complete the dream.
Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
[…] Hundred Percent on FC United of Manchester’s proposed dream stadium…located right next door to Manchester United’s original home in Newton […]
Well done to FCUM on what looks to be a very exciting proposal.
Hopefully my club (Scarborough Athletic FC) who are also currently without a permanent home can pipe out similar good news in the near future.
“All round terrible bastards Bradford Park Avenue.”
Nice to see FC United retain the arrogance associated with the parent club.
There could be some interesting times ahead, not least with Greater Manchester Police, if all the proposals in the area go ahead…
For starters, the ground will be well under two miles from Eastlands, with the walk mostly possible through Phillips Park.
Secondly, if (and it is still if) Oldham Athletic get permission, two miles the other way will be their new ground, on the site of the current Lancaster Sports Club.
Three teams, all within 4 miles of each other, all attracting a fanbase measured in thousands rather than hundreds – something tells me that GMP will stick their oar in about match scheduling if nothing else, especially as and when FCUM get to a high enough level that GMP will want to be involved outside the ground at least…..
The same issues would probably apply anywhere in Newton Heath to be fair, and if the council are on board then presumably they don’t feel any difficulties are insurmountable – although Oldham is a separate borough and so how much consultation has or will go on there is moot.
Is it good for FCUM? It’s a great publicity boost, and the fact that they are not only within the city but accessible (they’d be close to a line currently being converted to Metrolink, and about 45 minutes walk from the City Centre, 10 by the frequent buses) can only make them a more viable prospect to go and support. Those in the area may not quite think the same.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I live in the area!
Michael Wood: I think that comment may be somewhat tongue in cheek. If you can’t develop rivalries in football then it’s not the game I recognise.
Great news, good luck to FCUM
Bradford Park Avenue. A pub team who coincidental picked the same name of the former league club who went bankrupt in the early 70’s. The current BPA have no connection at all to the former league club yet chose to have all the formers honors listed in the programme.
Whens the next imaginary pre season tour to Spain I wonder……
So if FCUM does end up in Newton Heath, would the club change its colors to green & gold, too?
I can think of a great many connections between the new and old Bradford (Park Avenue) clubs and can – if asked – name them all as Jeff, Steve, Margaret and many other football supporters in Bradford who followed the old club and now follow the new one.
Perhaps PilgrimMutley wants to tell the AFC Wimbledon fans that they are following a club with no connection to the former league club. I wouldn’t have thought that the idea that the supporters of a club do not constitute the heart of that club would pass with so little comment on this website.
Also – wearing my Bradford City supporter hat for a moment – I have to say “Park Avenue have honours they can list?”
And what happens to all this if the “Red Knights” do manage to take over Man Utd?
Is it the end of the Franchise?
“And what happens to all this if the “Red Knights” do manage to take over Man Utd?
Is it the end of the Franchise?”
MK Dons don’t have anything to do with this, and nor do the Red Knights. FC United is not a single issue protest about Malcolm Glazer, it’s about fans having the ultimate say in running their club; clubs being positively involved in their community; affordable football; encouraging youngsters to be involved – on and off the pitch;
and football being for the fans rather than a commercial money maker. If you’re referring to FC United as ‘the Franchise’, you could hardly be further from the truth.
Dave’s FootballBlog – I cannot imagine the home kit being anything other than red, white and black. But if enough members want it, it can be put to a vote. An away kit in green and gold at some point may be more likely though.
“Coming home” come off it. Newton Heath FC only played there for 15 years before moving to Clayton in 1893. Despite the laughable green and gold campaign, I would bet over 90% of ManU fans have no idea where Newton Heath is.
FCUM was formed by a bunch of self-publicists on an ego trip. Not my words but those of a United fan I know, a view shared by many other Reds. The last time they “came home” and played Salford City there were met by a banner saying ‘Judas Scum’ made by United loyalists and there was fighting between United/Salford City fans and fans of FCUM. The ‘Love United, Hate Glazer’ stickers have also been accompanied by ‘Love United, Hate FC’ ones.
The whole thing more resembles ‘Monty Python’ than ‘grassroots’ (or ‘punk rock’) football.
There were indeed many reasons for the formation of FCUM. An important one was that United hadn’t won a trophy for a couple of years and it looked like the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ and Chelsea were about to dominate the Premier League for the next few years. The arrival of the Glazers provided a convenient pretext.
Where were these noble idealists when United were made a plc? (Oh yeah, they “didn’t know what a plc was then” but now everyone of them is a financial expert.) Where were these fans of grassroots, community football when the Premier League came into existence, a League rigged to help rich clubs like United win it? Where were they when United were the richest club in the world spending more on tranfers than any other club in the world? Not a peep out of them then.
And what about those wicked Glazers? Seven trophies in five years including the Champions League. What a poor return. No wonder a breakaway club was needed eh?
As for the new ground, it will be less than two miles from Eastlands (and contrary to the myth, Manchester is not red), it will be in close proximty to Oldham’s proposed new ground and many of the residents of Newton Heath are not over enamoured of the idea of a new football ground being plonked in their midst. This, coupled with the hostilty to FCUM of many United fans suggests “strong links with the local community” will be rather difficult to form.
As the novelty has worn off and FCUM have met tougher non-league teams attendances have fallen. A few seasons bobbing round the Northern Premier League, or below, will soon see three figure attendances. I very much doubt this new ground will get built. Please don’t compare these egotists and poseurs with the genuine fans of AFC Wimbledon and Bradford PA.
The correct response to the antics of FCUM is laughter, not support.
There was no “fighting between United/Salford City fans and fans of FCUM” at that game at the Willows. I know because I was there and happened to be stood on the terrace at what became the dividing line between the two sets of supporters.
FC United must be doing something right to be pulling crowds of 2k to Gigg Lane five years on, with all those pots in the cabinet at Old Trafford in the mean time. Affordable, family friendly football: what’s not to like?
“The correct response to the antics of FCUM is laughter, not support.”
You are so right, in the past 5 years we have had a brilliant time; we’ve never stopped laughing, singing or getting up the noses of bitter and jealous twerps.
Wonderfully insecure bile from the spectacularly bitter Captain Swing there.
Altogether now – LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSER!!!
Glad you’re laughing fellas, cos you are the joke…..
“It was United/FC United/Salford fans v. hooligans non-fans. The hooligans lost.
Free Red, Manchester
10/10/2006 at 11:45″
Captain, I am a self publicist. I didn’t go to Old Trafford in the late ninetees early 2000’s because like many many people I couldn’t afford to go, certainly not with my child. I now can watch football.
I am a glory hunter as you are Captain, thats why I support a football club captain.
I was there on the night of the Judas scum banner. Were you captain? Fighting there wasn’t. The banner was brought on by a teenager from the local area which if you look at your map you will see is in a part of Salford. The next year FC played again with not a hint of protest or trouble. The original trouble was orchestrated by some local youth who coudn’t be arsed to show up the next time because of the lack of trouble originally..
You stay and feed the likes of Sky your £40 plus per game as I am sure they appreciate it. I am sure the Glazers do. Bet you got your G & G scarf outside the ground off a jesters hat wearing vendor.
Some people just don’t get it do they.
FAO Captain Bling.
That captain swing aint even a red, a dirty Bertie I reckon.
where is fc united playing at this season 2010 -2011.
Good luck with your efforts >At 88+ i am old enough to have heard my Father telling me about him watching Man U on Bank St ,And I have watched The Manchester Electricity Board Play on Bank St Pre WW!!Bye Alf