Broadhurst Park, 10 years in the making
FC United have come a long way since that infamous meeting at the Manchester Apollo Theatre back in May 2005, as they now prepare the finishing touches to their new Broadhurst Park home.
Plans for a ‘summer of celebration’ to celebrate their 10th anniversary are well underway, which includes an open day for members, a gala dinner, an official opening event and a high-profile post-season friendly, confirmed this week as European giants Benfica, just some of the planned activities.
Since their formation the club has come under much criticism, scrutiny and had to hurdle many obstacles, not least in their plans to move into Broadhurst Park.
Planning permission, legal challenges and the original engineering contractors going into liquidation delaying the actual completion.
Not forgetting the actual cost of building which is set to top £6M, of which over half was raised by the fans, including £2M coming from a pioneering community share scheme.
But with the announcement that Benfica have agreed to play a post-season friendly, the fans can finally start looking forward to being in their (own) new home.
Last week I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes and get a look at the continued development.
Although behind schedule, it’s getting towards near completion.
The seats in the Main Stand are in and are colourfully arranged to resemble the FCUM bar scarf, while at the front, either side of the dugout there is a standing paddock area.
The pitch is beautifully laid with suitable drainage, the floodlights stand proud and the turnstiles await attendants.
Inside, the bar with function room(s) awaits stocking, the offices await desks and the classrooms await tables.
Classrooms? Yes, the FCUM academy will be based there, studying while learning their trade on the pitch.
The dressing rooms were about to have the benches installed, where next door, the state of the art medical room awaits stocking.
Then through the freshly painted corridors we come to the community changing rooms.
Not only will FC United be based there, so too will local football team, Moston Juniors.
Outside the front of the impressive entrance, you’ll find an astro-turf training pitch and grass pitch, which will not just host first team training sessions, FC United Women or Academy games, but will be the home of Moston Juniors, FCUM’s way of giving back to the community.
And with no confirmed move in date, you can forgive FC fans for starting to get a bit impatient, but after a 10 year wait, what’s a few more weeks?
You can see some pictures from my tour here
You can read all the details from FC United’s press release on the Benfica friendly here