Today we can make the historic announcement that building work will start on our new football ground, sports and other community facilities in Moston in early November 2013.
The announcement of a start date follows confirmation of the signing of the lease between FC United and Manchester City Council and the confirmation of funding for the £5.5m project. We are delighted to tell you that building will start next month on the site at Ronald Johnson Playing Fields in Moston, north Manchester and is expected to take around 40 weeks, with a projected completion date of late summer 2014.
Make no mistake about it - this is a momentous day for FC United of Manchester and also for the local community who will benefit from this facility. Project funding has been driven by FC United members, who have raised over £2m and which have helped unlock the support of funders including Sport England, the Football Foundation, Manchester City Council and the Manchester College. The support of these partners has been pivotal and we thank them for their resolute support through this long process. This is a brilliant achievement and one of which everyone connected with the club should be very proud.
We cannot speak too highly of the support we have received from our members and supporters who have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash plus close to £2 million pounds through our trailblazing community share scheme. Members’ funds have been matched by additional financial support from Manchester City Council, Sport England, The Football Foundation and The Manchester College recognising the social and sporting benefits the development will bring. The project is a genuine local partnership bringing together an array of local organisations and stakeholders with FC United’s co-owners.
FC United’s key sporting partner in this project is Moston Junior Football Club, one of Manchester’s leading junior football clubs and former leaseholder of Ronald Johnson Playing Fields, which celebrates its 20th birthday in 2013. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Moston Juniors and look forward to achieving great things together as we move forward with the project.
The announcement of the start of work on the facility is the culmination of seven years’ work for our supporter-owned club. In 2006 we began our quest to build a home ground, sports and other community facilities which would allow our club to develop its vision of democratically owned and controlled, community-driven football that would entertain, develop sports participation and both engage and provide lasting benefits for local residents and community groups. The process has been complex and challenging but, with the support of funders, the city council and Moston Juniors and our members and supporters, we are now ready to embark on work on site.
We have always said that this development is not about just football - residents of north Manchester will gain access to excellent community facilities offering a range of other sports alongside non-sporting activities. We are really excited about the commencement of work on the project and are celebrating today, but a bigger celebration will be when we complete the construction of the ground and the community facilities which will have such a positive effect on the local community and beyond.
The key partners of the project gave their reactions to the news as follows: -
Charles Johnston, Property Director at Sport England, said: “Manchester is a city with a rich sporting heritage and our investment into FC United of Manchester will ensure that the future of sport in the city remains bright. I am pleased to see the club’s plans have finally become a reality and through our continued investment in top class facilities we will not only improve people’s sport experience but also help attract new ones.???
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a Football Foundation grant of £500,000, alongside a £150,000 grant from our partner organisation the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), will enable FC United of Manchester to build fantastic new facilities for the club and for the community. In partnership with the Manchester FA, FC United of Manchester worked extremely hard to secure this funding from the Football Foundation. Since 2000 our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA and the Government (via Sport England), have provided £13m of investment through the Football Foundation to improve facilities like this one, right across Manchester.???
Manchester City Council
Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said: "This scheme will spell significant social and economic benefits for Moston and North Manchester as a whole. The partnership between FC United and Moston Juniors FC, one of the largest junior football clubs in Manchester, will not only result in multi-million pounds-worth of new investment in the area. It will also create the basis for an excellent sporting hub in North Manchester - with three pitches and a clubhouse which will all be used by the community, as well as the clubs. On top of this, FC United will work with Moston Juniors FC and a range of other partner agencies to help increase the number of people taking part in sport in the area - helping to tackle health and other social issues. It’s exciting that the new ground and other facilities will soon start to take shape."
The Manchester College
Jack Carney, Principal, The Manchester College, said: “The new football ground and sport facility will be a fantastic provision for the local community, giving residents access to a wide range of sporting and community facilities on their doorstep. The opportunities offered by the new development will have long-lasting benefits to both FC United of Manchester and the local community.???
Moston Juniors Football Club
Paul Mitchell, Chairman, Moston Junior Football Club, said: “As an FA Charter Standard Community Club, the ethos of the club is to work to improve every aspect of community life in Moston. The work that has been done here shows that by having strong partnerships with good leadership and a strong sense of the community, exceptional things can be achieved and I am proud that these facilities are being built in Moston it will put the area onto the UK sporting map as a beacon of excellence and community strength.???