Fan-owned FC United of Manchester has secured a three-year deal which will see its supporters enjoying free wi-fi at the community club’s new Broadhurst Park stadium.
The club has partnered with Bury-based data and telecommunications specialist Pennine Telecom to ensure fans can have better access to social media and the internet when visiting the 5,000-capacity ground and community facility in Moston, north Manchester.
Pennine is now installing wireless access points and specialist software at the new £6.3m ground to ensure the broadband service is ready in time for a prestigious friendly against Portuguese giants Benfica on May 29th.
The deal will allow the club to better engage with its supporters according to FC United general manager Andy Walsh, who says: “Good communications is vital for a supporter-owned club like ours and we wanted to give our fans, the club’s owners, the opportunity to participate in real time on social media when they come to matches. Our Facebook page already has over 700,000 likes and we have 55,000 Twitter followers, so social media is a really effective way for our supporters to engage with each other and the club.”
He added that the reporting tools featured within the Purple Wi-fi software recommended by Pennine and SMS text service will also help the club communicate more effectively with its fan base.
Andrew Roberts, managing director of Pennine Telecom said his company welcomed the opportunity to support such a community-oriented club. “I’ve long-admired FC United’s commitment to working within and supporting the local community, a commitment which we at Pennine Telecom share. From the early days when Bury’s Gigg Lane was the club’s home ground we’ve watched on admiringly as they held on to their ideals whilst progressing through the leagues.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be able to support FC United at Broadhurst Park and through them the wider community in Moston.”
Founded in 2005 in protest at the takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family, FC United of Manchester has swiftly climbed through football’s league pyramid. In its first season the club earned the first of what would be four league promotions, graduating as champions from the North West Counties league. In April 2015, FC United also ended a seven-year stint in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, by winning the championship and earning a place in the Conference North division.
FC United of Manchester, which has the highest membership of any supporter-owned football club in the UK, is owned by more than 4,000 fans who raised over £3m to help fund Broadhurst Park.
Picture Caption: Pennine Telecom MD Andrew Roberts shakes hands with FC United of Manchester General Manager, Andy Walsh outside Broadhurst Park.