8:00am Friday 6th December 2013
By Andrew Simpson
THE Dane Bank terrace, an iconic part of Northwich Victoria’s former homes, has been acquired by a rival football club.
FC United of Manchester announced this week that a space behind one of the goals at its new ground in Moston will be built using steel work from the stand.
Officials at the supporter-owned club say they consulted their counterparts at 1874 Northwich before buying the bits they wanted.
“With their blessing we moved forward,” said Andy Walsh, general manager at FC United.
“It was important to us the concerns of Northwich fans were taken into account.
“They were worried most that the Dane Bank could be lost forever, but their club was not in a position to salvage it.”
Without FC United’s intervention, the metal would have been melted down and sold as scrap.
The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League club made a bid for the stand in March as part of an auction of the now former Victoria Stadium’s assets, but it was rejected.
David Hewitt, managing director of Thor Specialities (UK) Ltd that bought in January 2012 land on which the ground was built, invited Walsh to look again at the possibility of using part of the Dane Bank at FC United’s proposed home.
He did so with the blessing of Cheshire West and Chester Council, which approved the chemicals manufacturer’s proposal to redevelop the nine-acre site in Wincham earlier this year.
“For us, demolition was always a last resort,” said Hewitt.
“We wanted to salvage the stadium in some way, so looked carefully at what we had and how we could adapt it to fit with what FC United had [planning] permission to do.”
Lancaster firm TP Stadco has already started to re-engineer the steel ready for use in Moston.
Walsh added: “I’ve stood on the Dane Bank to watch a match at the Drill Field – it’s an old fashioned traditional terrace that was popular too with our supporters when we played at the Victoria Stadium.
“As a club, we’re conscious of its heritage and how proud Northwich fans were when it was built. We want to record that history in some way when our ground opens.”
1874 Northwich chairman Paul Stockton says he is glad the stand will not be scrapped.
He added: “We’re pleased a fellow supporter-owned club can now benefit from and enjoy what is a fantastic asset. We’re sure it’s in safe hands.”
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