CURTIS ROTHWELL: FC United are moving on but will be forever grateful to Gigg Lane

AMBITIOUS FC United of Manchester will be leaving their Gigg Lane base next year when they move to their new ground in Moston.

Here, Bolton-based fan Curtis Rothwell reflects on the part Bury’s ground has played in his club’s development.

Being a 20 year old student, affording to follow a football team has to be knocked back a few pegs on my priorities list.

Unfortunately, I have reached the period in my life where my responsibilities now surpass taking the wheelie bin to the end of the drive once a week.

I now have to earn good money to regularly watch the sport I love.

However, the actual process of working hard to then sacrifice a large share of my wage to watch football seems to me very unnecessary.

The glamorous Premier League and the race to get there is something I feel I can no longer relate to, mainly because of some football clubs’ growing debts and high player wages.

A few years ago a friend introduced me to FC United of Manchester, a non-league club that ground shares with Bury FC.

Since 2005, Gigg Lane has been a home to FC United and experiences there have changed my perspective on football.

I’m sure all FC United fans will agree with me, Gigg Lane has become a very special place.

Memories at the ground are plentiful – an outstanding one many will remember being the FA Cup tie against Brighton in 2010.

The game drew a record FC United attendance of 6,731. Unfortunately, the result was very different to the fairy tale FA Cup dream of many non-league clubs, Brighton winning 4-0.

However, despite the disappointment, the night was a huge step in FC United’s development, raising the club’s profile as the game was televised, and of course financially through the large attendance.

Nights like the Brighton game simply could not have happened without the facilities at Gigg Lane and the fantastic support from Bury FC.

In August 2014, building work will be completed on the Ronald Johnson Playing Fields in Moston, which will be FC United’s new home.

This will mark the end of the club’s nine years at Gigg Lane, but not the end of the gratitude FC United will give to Bury FC and their special football ground.

Gigg Lane played arguably the most important part in the development of FC United, by lending them a home.

For me, the short journey over to Bury will have to be extended to East Manchester next season.

In the meantime, I will enjoy our remaining few months at Gigg Lane, as the ground continues its positive impact on footballing history.

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