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FC United members' meeting reviews progress on new ground

An FC United members’ meeting took place today, Sunday 15th September 2013, to give an update on the progress towards the building of the new football ground and community facility at the site in Moston, north Manchester.

In kicking off the meeting, general manager Andy Walsh spoke about the frustration that he, the board and the membership felt about the ongoing delays in announcing a start date on the ground build. He assured those present that we were very close to making such an announcement and that this was imminent. It was important, he said, to restate the aims of the project which was to bring real and lasting community and sporting benefit to local people as well as providing a football ground to play in for FC United.

Despite the setbacks we have had to face over the past three years, including the shelving of the plans at Ten Acres Lane, we are still here and were now contemplating the start of building of a near £6m project, the funding for which has been driven by the members and supporters of FC United and rests on the magnificent fundraising efforts of all concerned which has in turn unlocked grant funding from a series of partners. This is a brilliant achievement and one of which everyone connected with the club should be very proud.

FC United board member Adam Brown gave an update on the progress towards the signing of the lease for the new ground, which was needed for us to be able to announce a start date for the build. We were in the final stages of the arrangements to sign the lease and these included various agreements that still needed to be signed off on issues such as highways, funding arrangements, planning, contract drafting and other preliminaries. These were almost complete and once these are all signed off then we will make an announcement on the commencement of work. Such an announcement, as Andy said in opening the meeting, was now very close.

Following this introduction to the meeting, a number of questions were asked by members about the timing of the build, the type of contract labour used and the staging of the build programme. The point was made that planning and funding conditions required that we had to have the work complete before occupying the facility. This means that we need to remain focused on getting the job done.

Adam gave an update on the funding in place for the new ground and facilities. In summary, from our own direct efforts we needed to raise a further £140,000 for our Development Fund and another £160,000 in community shares. All other funding was now in place.

The meeting then heard details of the latest plans for the new ground and facilities and reviewed a number of slides and plans as well as a CGI ‘fly-through’ of the ground itself which was received with a great deal of interest, excitement and applause at the meeting. The level of detail being shared with members was appreciated by the meeting and is adding to the sense of anticipation for the commencement of work and its ultimate completion. It is acknowledged that not every member could attend the meeting and a wider update to all members will be sent out very shortly.

Following the presentations, and a short break, the meeting had two group sessions to discuss various aspects of the new ground, its design and facilities. This gave members the opportunity to have a say on what they would like to see included in the ground and how things might work operationally. This initial meeting will be followed by further discussions with members and opportunities for additional input including a much wider survey of views.The level and extent of the involvement of members is of course a key part of FC United as a supporter-owned and run club.

Following these sessions, the meeting concluded by discussing the next steps, which include further meetings on the arrangements for the new ground and of course the announcement of the building start date, which is expected very, very soon.

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First Posted ~ 17:38 Sun 15 Sep 2013
News ID ~ 5087
Last Updated ~ 00:40 Mon 16 Sep 2013