FC United of Manchester believe the community-run club provide a beacon of hope in a world of footballing rapacity and growing foreign riches.
Vinny Thompson, FC United’s community liaison officer, says the unorthodox approach taken by the club has fostered a positive atmosphere and had tangible social benefits.
His comments came after it was revealed the Moston-based club were to feature in a new short film to celebrate this weekend’s Community Business Weekend, a national open doors event for community businesses across the country to shine a light on the impact they have on society.
“FC United has ripped up the football rule book and started again,” he said.
“Everything that has been achieved at the club has been built through the local community.
“Every pound that we make gets reinvested to ensure residents in Moston have not only a community-run team to watch and support week in and week out, but also a place that they can come together and truly feel supported and part of a community.
“It’s a place of sanctuary and exactly how a football club should be.”
FC United, who compete in the National League North, was initially formed by Manchester United fans to provide a community hub for those in the area.
It hosts a range of regular classes for health and wellbeing while running a successful disability team, and has also launched multiple campaigns to help tackle homelessness.
This weekend will see it host a Soul Against Racism all day music event as part of Community Business Weekend, with all profits being reinvested into the club for the benefit of the local community.
Nationally, the weekend will see community businesses across the UK encouraging more people to get involved in their initiatives, and will look to build on the considerable success it had in stimulating participation last year.
In 2018, more than 17,000 people visited 225 community businesses over the course of the event, with many of these becoming volunteers, regular customers and even shareholders of those businesses.
The event is supported by charitable trust Power to Change, whose CEO Vidhya Alakeson was full of praise for the work clubs like FC United were so committed to undertaking.
“The beauty of community business is that anyone can get involved, from setting one up, to becoming a shareholder, trustee, volunteer, employee or valued customer,” she said.
“One of our core priorities at Power to Change is to help communities to harness the skills, leadership and entrepreneurialism that already exist at the local level.
“Community Business Weekend is a great way to both celebrate and uncover the skills that can bring vibrancy and economic growth to local areas.”
For more information about the weekend and the club’s work, you can visit communitybusinessweekend.org or fc-utd.co.uk.