THE MOSTON REVOLUTION
As the people of Brazil take to the streets to protest against the World Cup and the FIFA mafia, a small scale revolution is already taking place in Moston, Manchester. FC United of Manchester (FCUM) is already in town.
Since the decision has been made for FCUM to start building themselves a football stadium in the district of Moston, a group of FCUM fans who live in the area have already started to get active in solidifying ties with the local community. The fans in the FCUM Moston Branch, had been given permission to use the Lightbowne Sports & Social Club (an already existing community facility suffering from a downturn in the economy) in whatever way they please. Since its inception, the facility is now decked out with FCUM memorabilia, and has played host to branch meetings, fundraisers and social functions. With so much space available in the club, the potential for the future is immeasurable; however, there has already been some impact on the wider community.
Last season saw the inaugural year of the FC United of Manchester Women’s Team that play in the Premier division of the Manchester Women’s League. They play their home games up the road, and use the ‘FC Lounge’ facility for pre and post-match requirements. In their first season they have had home attendances of up to 300 people, something which the FA has taken note of by sending a representative to most home games to monitor the situation, as never before has there been so much support given to lower league women’s football. What is most impressive is that by the end of the season, the team had managed to finish in a credible second place, behind Manchester City, which included a much-celebrated home victory against them in the home game. Despite the huge successes already on the fields of Moston, there has also been an impact on a local community level.
The district of Moston is one of the most economically deprived areas of the city, unemployment is high, there are a higher than average amount of crimes taking place, and the affordability of the area has, over the years, attracted a large number of immigrants who are stuck on the lower steps of the wage labouring ladder. One single parent that I spoke to explained how the arrival of FCUM had an impact on his family. His son had turned away from football in his teenage years towards a life of hanging around on the streets and experimenting with some of the more anti-social aspects the area has to offer. Since the announcement that the club has full planning permission to start building the ground, the reality of playing football in your local community to huge crowds had sunk in to the lad, and he has since turned his life around, dedicating his spare time back into the football, and has recently been successful in being accepted into the FCUM development programme. This is just one success story of an unwritten anthology of FC United of Manchester.
The potential of the FC Lounge is huge – with a room three times the size of the main bar room, I can envisage plenty of pre-match refreshment, and packed post-game parties with bands and DJs. Not only that, the potential of FCUM finally cementing their home in the area is going to be unprecedented. Lance from the FCUM Moston branch told me about how the stadium will provide jobs for people, the pitches will be available for use by all FCUM teams, community teams, and local groups, there will be affordable football season tickets available to the local young people, and many more outreach programmes will be set up to encourage involvement from many different types of socially excluded groups. Whatever your stake and position, there is going to be something at FCUM for everyone: this is the true spirit of the reds rebellion. And even though much of the community is still not aware of the fact that FCUM will be residing here in the future, when the buzz of the streets and the roar of the stadium becomes noticeable on that first match day, everyone will be entitled to a slice of the pie.
Daniel Colbourne introducing his documentary 'Punk Football'
On the night of my visit, there was the third ever screening of the new independently made FCUM documentary ‘Punk Football’, which has been directed and edited by Daniel Colbourne. The documentary provides a fine balance of the history of the clubs founding and what the club stands for now, and it will appeal to FCUM fans wanting a little more insight, and to the casual football fans who want to know what we are all about. It features an array of colourful characters from club officials, players, fans, and social commentators. This is the most insightful video documentary to encapsulate the spirit of FCUM - a must see for all. Daniel Colbourne is currently touring the documentary at various branch meetings and events around the country over the next few months, so check out the ‘Punk Football’ facebook page and find out about your nearest screening. Punk Football Link
As is the case with the documentary, the community of Moston, and the development of FCUM, when this buzz all goes viral, the whole world will resonate with this spirit, and people will want to take a stand against the bitter cold winds of discontent currently blowing throughout the world.