This week Manchester’s own community football club FC United of Manchester were crowned Champions of the Northern Premier League and gained promotion to the Conference North, just two leagues below the football league.
FC United of Manchester is a community football club owned and democratically run by its 4125 members. Its corporate structure is a Community Benefit Society and membership is open to all, with everyone an equal co-owner, holding one voting share in the club.
Forever Manchester’s Marketing Director Paul Haworth (pictured far left celebrating) is an FC United founder member, co-owner and volunteer. Paul joined Terry Snowden on the Forever Manchester Radio Show this week to talk about the football club and its role in the local community.
Click below to listen to the interview.
Next month FC United will move to their new 5,000 capacity ground ‘Broadhurst Park’ in Moston, North Manchester. Their first match will be against the mighty Benfica on Friday 29th May.
Speaking about the move to Moston Andy Walsh, General Manager at FC United recently told the Telegraph Newspaper. (click here to read full article)
“For 10 years, we have lived in other people’s homes, [ground-sharing with Bury FC, Stalybridge Celtic and Curzon Ashton] it would have been disrespectful to do much outreach in those places. But here [in Moston], we can put down our roots and really make ourselves part of the community. This is what our members tell us they want. They believe that football really should play its part in local life.”
The facility, which includes the main ground, 3G pitch and two grass pitches cost £6.3 million to build, money raised through an exhaustive campaign of fundraising. £2 million was raised by members from community shares, with a further £1 million from member fundraising. £57,000 to kit out the kitchen was raised from crowd funding. The facility will be open all the time.
The bar, function rooms and community classroom together with the ‘3G’ artificial pitch is available for use by the local community. In addition there will be avenue of fruit trees planted round the perimeter, making this, according to Andy Walsh, the first pollinator-friendly football stadium in the country.
Broadhurst Park will also be home of Moston Juniors FC, who Forever Manchester have helped fund in the past.
The sun is out again so let’s view a vision of Friday loveliness that’s been created by the fans for the fans. pic.twitter.com/IWyfR7Ge8x
— FC United Manchester (@FCUnitedMcr) April 24, 2015
Much of the work in and around the ground has been undertaken by volunteers. A group of supporters did most of the landscaping, one fan made the benches in the dressing rooms, another managed to acquire the lift for free.
It is this spirit that Andy Walsh believes gives the place such value and is an approach championed by Forever Manchester when working in local communities.
Forever Manchester’s aim is to connect local people, groups and agencies and encourage them to share their skills, talents and resources to make local communities thrive. This strength based approach (known as Asset Based Community Development) adopts a way of thinking that starts from a place of possibilities, strengths and capacities. When working in local communities we ask residents what they want and use various techniques to identify the skills and resources that already exist in the local community.
Forever Manchester recently announced a £200,000 community investment into Moston and Harpurhey, and we have been in discussions with FC United and other local agencies active in the area as to how we can work together with local residents to make a lasting impact in the area.
Forever Manchester will have a permanent presence at FC United’s Broadhurst Park in the form of two pitch side advertising hoardings alongside MXData, Northwards Housing, Unity Trust Bank, Barnes Logistics, T-34, Flexispace, Trailer Trans Europe, ANSA Elevators, PH Services, Football Tours International and more.
On behalf of everyone at Forever Manchester we’d like to congratulate FC United on their recent achievements and wish them all the very best as they begin an exciting new chapter in their new home in Moston.
To watch the match highlights of FC United’s championship winning match on Tuesday 21st April in front of 3,500 fans click on the video below.