Supporters of fan-owned, co-operative football club FC United of Manchester are celebrating today after raising just over £2m from a community share issue to help fund its new football ground and community sports facility in Moston, north Manchester.
Speaking today, FC United general manager Andy Walsh, said: "Reaching our £2m target from the share issue is a magnificent achievement. This is one of the largest amounts ever raised by football supporters and the most ever raised for a sports club via community shares. Raising capital through community shares is a pioneering development in English football and FC United’s example has been rightly recognised as offering a real alternative to the way football is run and financed."
FC United board member Adam Brown thanked members for their support of the scheme on behalf of the club board and said: "Our shareholders all have just one vote regardless of the number of shares they hold, preserving the common ownership of the club. Community shares give a tangible way for fans to raise significant sums of money whilst preserving the football club as a community-owned asset. We believe community shares is a preferable way of raising finance to borrowing from banks and more sustainable than relying on wealthy individuals providing soft loans or buying equity who may not always have the best interest of the club at heart. Our example has already inspired other clubs such as Wrexham, Portsmouth and Lewes showing that there is a better way for football."
FC United’s original target when it launched the share scheme in November 2010 was £750,000 but they were so successful that the target amount was revised twice up to its current figure of £2m.
This amount has been raised from 1,522 people with most investing £500 or less. "By buying community shares, FC United members are supporting a better way for football to deliver genuine community benefit - one that is owned and run by supporters and committed to wider community and social development and financial sustainability," said Andy Walsh. "Our groundbreaking development will create a positive and long lasting legacy in Moston, creating new sports and non-sports facilities for the area for generations to come," he said.
The club’s success with the community share scheme has enabled a further £3m of other grant funding to be unlocked which has been used to meet the £6.3m cost of their new ground and community facility. Adam Brown added: "As successful as we have been, as a supporter-run club our fundraising doesn’t stop here. This shares scheme is now closed but we are still looking to raise more funds to bridge gaps and improve the new ground and develop more facilities so that we are even better placed to deliver real and lasting community benefit to the Moston and north Manchester area."
For further information or to arrange an interview contact Andy Walker, FC United of Manchester Press and Communications Officer, on 07791 997602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org