One day we’re going home: United’s return to Newton Heath?
FC United of Manchester has announced plans to develop a football ground in Newton Heath, Manchester – the birthplace of Manchester United.
The supporter-owned club, established when the Glazer family took over Manchester United in May 2005, is proposing to include new and renovated community sports facilities and a multi-function community space at the 5,000-capacity stadium.
The club wants to provide state of the art facilities that will create new investment in the area and opportunities for local people in sports participation and physical activity, youth inclusion, education, health, employment and a range of other services.
The site for the development is the existing Ten Acres Lane sports centre, which is owned by Manchester City Council.
FC United, New East Manchester and Manchester City Council have been working closely over the past two years to develop the plans and consultation will now progress with local residents, community groups and FC United members who own the club.
FC United is working to secure the finance for the £3.5m development, which will include a public appeal for donations, a Community Shares issue and grant funding.
Club General Manager Andy Walsh said: “We are delighted to be able to make this announcement and discussions with the council have been very positive to date. The significance of this location is historical while it will also showcase a new model of facility development, based on football supporter ownership and community involvement.”
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Mike Amesbury, said: “We have been supportive of this development to date and we are pleased to now take it to the next stage. While there is a way to go yet we feel that this will have significant local community benefits and bring an iconic supporter-owned club to Manchester.”
Eddie Smith, chief executive of urban regeneration company New East Manchester said: “We are working closely with FC United to help achieve their aspirations of acquiring land in Newton Heath for a new football ground. This is still very early stages but we are supportive of their proposals which would bring further regeneration benefits to east Manchester.”
FC United hopes the development will be completed in the next two to three years, subject to consultation, funding and planning.