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By ESPN Staff

FC United of Manchester step up stadium plan

FC United are launching a pioneering £1.5 million community share issue to help fund the cost of their new stadium.

• The story of FC United

The club, which plays in the Northern Premier League which is three divisions below the Football League, launched five years ago following the Glazer family takeover at Old Trafford, have submitted an application to build their own 5,000-capacity ground close to the site at Newton Heath where the club which eventually became Manchester United started their existence.

FC United, currently tenants at Bury's Gigg Lane ground, estimate gaining access to a sizeable sum through grants and also £500,000 in donations, £300,000 of which has already been received. But they intend to raise the remainder through the community share scheme and claim to be the first football club to issue such shares, a means by which community enterprises can raise capital funds.

"The main aim of the shares is to provide investors with a social return by funding the football and community objectives of FC United, but the club's business plan also provides for potential financial returns for shareholders,'' said an FC United statement.

The club believe having their own stadium is the best way to maximise their potential as, while they continue to enjoy impressive attendances - just under 2,000 - for their present level of football, they also have to pay out a hefty rental fee to Bury.

FC United have also been forced to play some matches at Stalybridge this season but now hope "supporters, investors and companies can support the club's development by buying £1 shares from the minimum purchase of £200 up to £20,000''.

Andy Walsh, FC United general manager, said: "FC United has achieved a great deal in the five years since its foundation, despite not having a permanent home. With our own ground and community facilities we can achieve much more, making the club sustainable and fulfilling our ambition to become a beacon showing a better way for football.''

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