Football Clubs as Community Campaigning Champions

FC United Some of the most interesting sports clubs are campaigning clubs. They thrill their fans, and they deliver real and positive change in their communities. Like many a general sports fan, I was delighted to congratulate FC United of Manchester on becoming Evo-Stik Northern Premier Champions. The club set up by fans in the wake of the Glazer take-over of ManUtd is now two promotions away from joining the Football League.

Owned and run by its members, FCUnited is a Community Benefit Society – everyone is a equal co-owner, holding one voting share. Profits from merchandise support club development. It is a proud Living Wage employer. It delivers adult education and training opportunities and partners with schools and colleges. Some major clubs deliver award-winning community initiatives (I’m a long-term admirer of Man City’s City in the Community scheme); FCUnited show it can be done with far less cash and equal or greater heart.

What FCUnited have done for football and sport more broadly is help drive a new, more radical agenda around our sports clubs, our love for them and their roles in our communities. Could their co-operative club model work for more UK sports clubs? Perhaps leading to home grown equivalents of the idiosyncratic and passionate multi-sport club          St Pauli of Hamburg?  Fan-owned, committed clubs, getting people active and skilled-up, entertaining us and changing communities.  Now that would be game-changing.

St Pauli



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