Football Focus Issue 65 - Page 43

FC United of Manchester 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE For value, experienced professionalism and reliability • Airports • Theatres • Hospitals • Care homes • Schools • Holidays • Events • Door to Door • Stations • Distance work • Hotels GET IN TOUCH ON 0161 223 1066 raised through donations, community shares, loan stock and crowd funding it is the culmination of an extraordinary collective effort in a time of austerity. Maintaining the club’s principled commitment to affordable football whilst competing at a higher level and striving, wherever possible, to avoid “outright commercialism”, is a delicate balancing act. Whilst almost all other clubs at this level and beyond are happy to splash a sponsor’s logo across their shirts and many benefit from the investment of wealthy owners at FC United we are proud to say that we do things differently; the players’ shirts remain refreshingly free of advertising and there are no sugar daddies. Yet FC United’s admission prices (£9 for adults, £5 for concessions and £2 for juniors) are the second lowest in the league and, in addition, the club continues with its pioneering “pay what you can afford” season tickets. Last season the club sold more than two thousand season tickets and was the fourth best supported team in the whole of non-league football with crowds of more than three thousand regularly flocking to Broadhurst Park; an incredible level of support, week in week out, at this level of football. And with a mid-table finish in our fi rst season in National League North to those looking on it must appeared to have been a successful season. But whilst attendances boomed and matchday revenue surged in 2015-16 the club struggled to adjust to life in its own ground. A turbulent twelve months saw the resignation of the club’s longstanding Chief Executive and seven Board members and ended with some fans staging a protest at the final home match calling for greater democracy and transparency at the club. Many members felt that while the club had been so focused on building a new home the decent egalitarian and democratic principles on which the club was founded had been eroded. The 50p increase in the price of the programme at the friendly match against Benfica in May last year, the first match at Broadhurst Park, was widely condemned as overly commercial and led to a significant loss of goodwill amongst many members. 43