FC United of Manchester launched itself into the new football season earlier this year making the most of its new £6.3m stadium and community facility at Broadhurst Park, Moston in Manchester, UK.
Fans have celebrated the new 4,400 capacity stadium designed by architects IBI Group, by watching the recently promoted Vanarama League National North side compete against teams just two levels below the Football League for the first time in their history.
FC United of Manchester was established when a group of Manchester United supporters, dismayed by the Glazer takeover of their club and the increasing commercialisation of the modern game and alienation of ordinary matchgoing fans, decided that it was time to create a football club that belonged to the fans. The new stadium was only made possible by a groundbreaking ‘community share scheme’, with fans raising a sizeable £2million of the sum required and other social financing and crowdfunding initiatives which in total have raised almost half of the cost of the project.
“Working in collaboration with FC United’s members, the stadium is designed to honour the personality and history of the club,” said IBI Group’s Project Director, Alan Simpson. “An important design feature, the roughsawn timber cladding on the façade of the stadium, symbolises railway sleepers from United’s Newton Heath railway company heritage.”
Pre and post-match, the fans gather on the Boardwalk, a contemporary landscaped plaza on the approach to the iconic main entrance signified by two white towers offset by a ribbon of flame red. Inside the stadium, home fans benefit from a 2,000 capacity East Stand terrace, a steel frame structure that was designed to use materials salvaged from the former Northwich Victoria stadium
The South Stand is designed in an L shaped configuration, which improves the internal atmosphere during a match and protects local residents from crowd noise. In preparation for the club’s success, the West and North stands cater for future expansion that can accommodate additional terracing for growing ticket sales.
The stadium provides the players and fans with high quality community facilities including conference and function rooms, a hi-tech floodlit 3G pitch and a further two grass pitches for community use.
FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: “We are delighted with the design of our new ground. It is covered on all sides and as requested by our members it has standing and seating in the main stand with a large and expansive home standing area behind the goal. Our architects at IBI Group played a crucial role in interpreting our members’ requests for the ground and we are very pleased with the end outcome which shows what can be achieved when football fans with a vision work together with a specialist, professional team and make things happen. FC United’s members were involved at every stage during the design and construction process and the result is a stadium and community facility that is the envy of many clubs in higher leagues and one that has been described as the best new non-league ground in the country.”
“This is a true community facility,” said IBI’s Project Architect, Stephen Hughes. “It has the heart and soul of the fans embedded in the very fabric of the building, as literally brick by brick they have built their dream. It was a privilege to be part of this significant period in the football club’s history.”