FC United await new ground green light
FC United of Manchester aim to make another piece of history by reaching the FA Cup second round by beating Rochdale at Spotland - but a far more important battle will take place at Manchester Town Hall on November 25.
While manager Karl Marginson is charged with the task of steering the progressive Evo-Stick League outfit past a side four levels above them in football's pyramid, behind the scenes finishing touches are being applied to a planning application for a new ground at Ten Acres Lane, close to Manchester United's spiritual home at Newton Heath.
According to general manager Andy Walsh, it is only then that the project which began over a curry and became reality after the Glazer takeover at Old Trafford in 2005 can really progress.
''Until we achieve our own ground this club is not sustainable,'' said Walsh. ''We will survive, but not in our current form.
''We have been in existence for five years. In another five the intention is to have been in our own ground for two to three years and then be reassessing our long-term strategy.''
With FC United committed to paying huge amounts in rent to Bury for the use of their Gigg Lane ground, the club are not as wealthy as many believe an outfit capable of taking 4,000 visiting fans to Rochdale tonight should be.
Certainly they do not currently have the £3.5 million required to build their stadium, should Manchester's planning committee give their approval. Not that Walsh is put off by the challenge.
Having launched a new community shares scheme aimed at raising funds on the club's behalf, he remains convinced of the viability of his plans.
''The Community Shares thing is the most exciting thing we have ever done,'' he said. ''Why should people give their money to a bank to gamble on South American copper mines when they can invest in their own community.
''The stadium is essential to our long-term development. It goes before the planning committee on November 25, then we have to raise £3.5 million. At the moment we have £300,000. There are people within our own ranks who still don't believe it will happen. But that is what keeps you going. Nothing in life was ever achieved without hard graft.''