It’ll Be Off

Who the fuck is Ronald Johnson?
April 5, 2011, 7:26 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , ,

Our new ground is set to be in Moston, at the Ronald Johnson playing fields. No one knows who the fuck Ronald Johnson is, but it’s close enough a name to handsome Norwegian utility man Ronny Johnsen that we can pretend it’s him. Ace!

And while Moston doesn’t hold the same romanticism and historical relevance that Newton Heath does, it is included in that ‘Tra-la-la-la We all hate city’ song, which is something at least.

I’m not getting too excited over this until Andy Walsh has stuck a spade in the ground and work is underway. Otherwise the next thing you know MCC will have sold the land to British Ping Pong, and we’ll be building our new ground in fucking Bury or somewhere.

Still, onwards and upwards.


42 Comments so far
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Ronald Johnson was a man that left open space in Moston to the Moston people. I am sur I am not alone when I say your football grund is not wanted in this area. You may need a ground of your own but try and find somewhere where it wont impact so many people.

Comment by maya

Understand that the playing fields in Moston were named in memory of a Captain Ronald Lindsey Johnson who was killed in action in Belgium in the First World War in 1917.

Comment by The Man

Andy Walsh will have a long wait to dig his spade into any ground on Ronald Johnsons. It belongs to the children of Moston not FC F—–G United

Comment by MJFC 4 EVA

Mortified! lets not use the excuse of poor moston juniors and local children being accomodated in the scheme children are happy enough already to be playing football on the green open fields as it is they can surely continue to do so without a concrete building on the site. Local league teams have been playing the fields for years whats the difference now? Its all about FC United at the end of the day!Playing Fields are for everyone to enjoy not just for football Hands off our green spaces there few and far between!!!!

Comment by tracy

fc united will never get them fields they arnt the councils to sell moston juniors have the lease nobody else

Comment by bye bye fc united

The land FC United want to build on was to Moston by a man called Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst for the use as playing fields- not grounds! In his letter he stipulates that the land is never to be built on except for storing park equipment, a public library or a council school none of which FC United come under. There is a pertition going round that is doing very well every one who has been asked if they would like to sign has signed.

Comment by maya

This is so wrong. It is being portrayed as a done deal but the people of Moston haven’t been consulted yet. Don’t let anyone try to kid you that this is for the good of the local community ‘cos it aint!

There is a cosy little 5,000 seater stadium with a football pitch (and an athletics track thrown in for good luck) down at Eastlands, can’t they swallow their pride and use that?

How about trying again at Ten Acre Lane? All weather pitch in need of ripping up and replacing, planning permission already granted just a little creative accounting required.

Once this green area has gone the people of Moston – to whom I believe it was given, not the people of Manchester – will have lost it forever.

Where and when can I sign this petition?

Comment by David Myrtle

Ten Acres cannot be used because Man City now own a lot of land around there and told the council in uncertain terms that unless FC are moved elsewhere Man City woul stop the development around Eastlands. There’s more to this than meets the eye.
Please trust me when i say FC United will not get Ronald Johnson Playing Fields

Comment by MJFC 4 EVA

SettingBroadhurst Park is a relatively new addition to Moston. Dating to 1920, the park was a gift from Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst to the city of Manchester in gratitude for the city’s part in the allied victory in World War I. He firmly believed that the land should be for the people to enjoy and stipulated that there would be no building in the area unless it was for the benefit of the community or the park.

During this period and from the mid 19th century Moston underwent a surge in development. There was an increase in the number of houses, with the majority built by the mining and railway industries and the Manchester Corporation. The park was created to preserve the older more rural character of Moston.

Comment by thompsonlocal

“benefit of the community or park” is a bit open ended isn’t it ! Whose definition would that be ? All the more reason to leave it alone as open park land, that way EVERYONE can continue to benefit from it and not just people with an interest in football and / or other sport. There are plenty of brownfield sites to choose from in Manchester, a few in Moston itself. There’s NO justification for building on park land.

Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

The information above is a quote from the council archives proving that indeed the land was a gift to the people of manchester. I am in total agreement that this land should not be built on, a football stadium would only benefit football fans what about other people? I live across the way from this area and I will fight it all the way!

Comment by thompsonlocal

We people of Moston weren’t consulted when they fenced off the public park and renamed it “Ronald Johnson Playing Fields” either. I used to go there often, but local people aren’t allowed in any more, so what’s the difference?

Comment by Getitbuilt

There was consultation regarding the fencing and there were meetings at St mary’s school but as we know the counci still did just what they wanted regardless.

Comment by maya

I knew nothing about this at the time, so it was hardly well publicised.

Comment by David Myrtle

I knew nothing either, and I live in the locality. Just drove up St Mary’s Rd one day and hey presto there was the fencing all over the field. Kids who used to go on there for a knockabout game of footie have been locked out ever since. Bits of unkempt grass left for them to use – how very generous. The place looks a tip. That field should be restored to one big open green field (and the old bike track should be removed and grassed over as well).

Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

It is still an ‘open space’. It woudn’t take much to remove a fence, a football stadium would be something else entirely.

Comment by David Myrtle


Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

I live in Moston and I never heard anything either.

Comment by Getitbuilt

The playing field at Broadhurst Park should be left as undeveloped open park land. We do not want any part of the park land building on, so FCU Stadium plans are NOT welcome. See the Facebook page “FC United of Manchester- No to the Moston project”. Our objection is about the proposal to build at Broadhurst Park – we are not anti-FCU.

Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

MAYA – please can you tell me where the covenant or letter (or whatever document it is) from Tootal, when Broadhurst was left to Moston, can be seen / read.

Will you please also join the Facebook Group against this stadium development. The page is called “FC United of Manchester- No To The Moston Project”.


Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

I’ve requested to join the facebook group, I have a copy of the letter but not sure how to get it to you without giving out addresses.

Comment by maya

Maya, there’s no one of your name listed as a member on the Facebook group. Try again to join it ? Not sure myself how you’d get a copy of the letter to me as we obviously don’t want to disclose addresses . Is it not publicly accessable somewhere ?

Comment by keep moston'sgreenspaces

Maya isn’t my name so that’s not what I’m on facebook as just like yourself!

Comment by maya

Ooops, didn’t think of that !

Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

Have a look at teh extract from the Moston Story that i have added.
I do not have the original book, but the new ones in the library DO NOT mention who left the field to the people of moston.

Comment by Mancunian

I support FC United. I was made to understand that total left this space for the people of Manchester, not Moston for recreation purpose, surely building a football stadium which allows kids to access a decent field to play their club matches on can only be a good thing, plus kids who are not able to afford to watch the bigger teams will have access to great football. I do not watch FC United or any other team but feel this is a great idea and its people who want to walk their dogs and foul the land that are against it.

Comment by audrey

Correct Audrey left to the people of Manchester not just football fans what attraction is it to the women of Manchester that hate football? I for one am guessing nothing! I live across the road from this area and would hate to see a football stadium built on it.

Comment by Tracy

We’re not saying “No stadium in Moston” Audrey, we’re saying “No stadium on Broadhurst Park”. All pro-stadium reasons and dreams (such as those you give above) can still be realised for FCU and other football fans, but elsewhere (on a suitable brownfield site). Green park land (no matter where it is) is precious and should be cherished and protected, not built on. PS: I don’t have a dog.

Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

Where do you live Audrey? I’m sure you would like your weekend peace & quiet stopped, cars blocking the street and beer cans in your front garden! It wouldn’t just be weekends either as there is suppose to be a function room attached. One letter we received from the Labour party has stated FC United have a good record for helping the community can you explain how, FC United don’t belong to a community they use someone elses and we don’t want them part of ours.

Comment by maya

What total rubbish your comment is!!! Over 1,000 people have signed a petition to stop FC united taking over our park. My dog doesn’t foul the park, by the way, as I clean up after him without fail. Most dog owners do who use the park. The park was left to the people of Moston, not Manchester…and not the footballers of Moston, either. Why should one segment of society think it’s okay to trample over the rights of the majority of Moston residents who have voted in no uncertain terms to reject plans for this stadium, including the elderly residing at Sidney Jones Court who’s lives would be totally blighted by the noise and the anti-social behaviour that we know will take place. WE THE RESIDENTS OF MOSTON SAY NO!!!

Comment by Shirley Rowarth

There is at this moment, a great deal of unrest in the community of Moston, regarding the proposal to take some of the land that is leased to Moston Juniors Football Club, for FC-United to have a stadium and clubhouse there.
I don’t think so. Consider this, Moston Juniors are on this land with no right to be there in the first place according to the covenants conditions, this land was given to the people of Manchester for playing fields, not for a single user or any one sport, but for all the people to enjoy. Moston Juniors have over stepped the mark by going into negotiations with a third party to sublet. Although Moston Juniors do a very worthwhile job, it brings into question certain members of their committees motives in this affair, and in view of this maybe the Charity Commission should be consulted over the fencing off of this land, depriving all the people of Manchester its use.
The land that FC are trying to get hold of would leave Moston Juniors with only one playing pitch rather than three. FC United, who have just found that the land where they thought would be ideal for them, is no longer viable. This has suddenly had a lot of obstacles put in its way, and for reasons that are not apparent; this makes the secrecy surrounding the whole enterprise look dubious in the eyes of our residents.
There is of course a simple solution. The Moston Juniors Club grounds measure about eight or nine acres, but if the whole site was taken into consideration would yield about twelve acres.
FC are looking for about six maybe eight acres of this for their new ground.
Half a mile down the road is another plot measuring ten acres on its own, but with a swathe of land that is included in the measurement of two acres suitable for car parking, this is just inside the boundary of Newton Heath. This land is in a bad state, but with a couple of bulldozers, could be levelled out easily, so as the whole of the plot could be used. The land that I suggest is on Dean Lane, facing the Petrol Station going from Williams Road and as far as the Day Care Centre, the other boundary is Dean Lane to Reliance Street, where the waste recycling plant is situated. Its main entrance is on Oldham Road with a ready made service access via Reliance Street suitable for major traffic.

•No parking problem.
•Metro Station within 200yards.
•More land available.
•Public nuisance at a minimum.
•The land already in public ownership.
•Ideal for this sort of enterprise.
•Derelict land brought back into use.

Bob Hill

Letter of intent
As a thank-offering for the Victory of the Allies, in the winning of which Manchester men and women also have played such a glorious part; and in gratitude for all that Manchester has done for me, I beg to offer to the Corporation a small piece of property in Moston, for the purposes of playing grounds and fields, and a park for the people.
The property lies between St Mary’s Road, Nuthurst Road, Moston Lane and the Cemetery, and a Dingle, and is some 80 acres in extent.
I purposely place playing grounds and fields before park, as I wish these to be the main purpose of the ground, rather than a laid out park, although some of the ground at the lower end being undulating, will probably be more suitable for the latter than the former. However, with this expression, I am quite content to leave the matter to the discretion of the Parks Committee, but I must stipulate that no portion of the land shall ever be used for building purposes, except for such buildings as are necessary for the equipment of the park, etc., or for a public library or council schools.
There are two tenants on the farms, both on yearly tenancies, subject to 12 months notice ending Lady Day. I ask, and I am sure your Committee will grant my request, that the greatest consideration may be shown to them.
I enclose a rough map of the ground, and my Agents, the Earle Estate Office, 88 King Street, will supply you with any further information you may desire.

Comment by robert hill

A man with sense at last!

Comment by Shirley Rowarth

MAYA – in that case please can you identify yourself to me somehow via the Facebook page so we can get the copy of the Tootal document thing sorted out? Would appreciate. It doesn’t have to involve personal home addresses. Thanks.

Comment by keepmoston'sgreenspaces

If you look on the website for Fri 10.27 that’s me.

Comment by maya

Who is Ronald jonson? Is it a name made up by the council?

EXTRACT FROM: 18,April 1993


Then in 1920 Moston got it’s own park.
In a letter dated 2nd June 1919, Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst made a gift of some eighty acres of land in Moston, to Manchester Corporation.
The letter addressed to Alderman Fox, Chairman of the Park Committee. It reads as follows.
As a thanks offering for the victory of the allies in the winning of Manchester men and women also having played such a glorious part; and in gratitude for all that Manchester has done for me, I beg to offer to the Corporation a small piece of property in Moston for the purposes of playing grounds and fields, and a park for the people.
The property lies between St.Mary’s Road, Nuthurst Road, Moston Lane and the cemetery, and a dingle, and some eighty acres in extent.
I purposely place the playing grounds and fields before the park, as I wish these to be the main purpose of the ground, rather than a laid park, although some of the ground at the lower end being undulating, will be more suitable for the latter than the former. However with this expression, I am quite content to leave the matter to the discretion of the Parks Committee, but I must stipulate that no portion of the land shall ever be used for building purposes, except for such buildings as are necessary for the equipment of the park, etc., or for a public library or council schools. There are two tenants on the farms both on yearly tenancies subject to 12 months notice ending Lady Day.
I ask, and I am sure your committee will grant my request, that the greatest consideration be shown to them.
I enclose a rough map of the ground, and my agents, the Earl Estate Office, 88 King Street, will supply you with any further information you may desire.
This generous gift of land in the central part of Moston served not only to provide excellent playing fields and parks, but also to preserve the rural character of Moston, which otherwise might have been engulfed by housing development. The land was conveyed on 23rd, July 1920 with covenants as to use solely as playing fields and park, except for structures in connection with recreation. Soon afterwards, Broadhurst Park, as we know it today came into existence.
There was also a band stand, no longer standing, but remembered by many for it’s concerts, and a little wooden shop, which sold ices and soft drinks. There had been a toll house at the junction of St.Mary’s Road. And Nuthurst Road. This was demolished in 1916. Another toll house at Chain Bar was pulled down in 1905.
Generally Speaking, Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst’s wishes have been respected. During the Second World War, prefabs were erected on a small portion, opposite the rear entrance to St.Joseph’s cemetery.
They were demolished in the 60’s, and the land was returned to recreational use.
A transit camp for Polish servicemen and their families was set up on Broadhurst fields after the war. It was only a makeshift affair, but by all accounts the Polish wives made it bright and homely.
In 1975 an attempt was made to build houses on the park. Intense opposition however from local residents prevented what would have been a breach of the covenant imposed by the donor.

(You may find that this extract from “The Moston Story” is not in the version now available in the Library).

Extract from page 21:-
“The Dean Clough, landscaped and protected against housing development by the terms of Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst’s gift, is now part of Broadhurst Park. In this picturesque dell stood Moston Hall”

Extract from page 76:-
“In 1919 Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst gave land to Manchester Corporation for playing fields and a small park. The Corporation entered into a covenant with Sir Edward not to build houses on this land. (The present Broadhurst Park & playing fields). In fact, and estate of prefab houses, (Yardley Ave & Thornham Crescent), stood on Lightbowne Road opposite St.Joseph’s cemetery, from 1946 until 1967.

Comment by Mancunian

My blog was erased too. I wonder who by? I am the great nephew of Ronald Johnson. Perhaps some body does not want you to know that. I will be interested to see if this erased.
Robert Bagley

Comment by Robert Bagley

Why has my blog been erased?????????
Don’t you want the people of Moston to know the truth????????

Comment by mancunian

Ignore the previous blog. It has appeared at last

Comment by mancunian

Get and keep your eyes and hands off our park! It was left to the people of Moston, not FC united and their foul mouthed land grabbing pigs!!! It has been proved that us locals don’t want your stadium, so stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!

Comment by Shirley Rowarth

Ronald Johnson was my great uncle. He was killed in the First World War. I believe that the playing fields were a bequest in his will but must check the details. He was a devoted son of Manchester. He was one of the sons of William Henry Johnson and Agnes (nee Morton) and lived at Woodleigh, Dunham Massey, Altrincham. His elder brother, William Morton Johnson, was also killed in the war. His youngest sister, Enid, was my grandmother. Another brother was the Rev’d Alan Johnson MC, Vicar of Ashton under Lyme for many years. The family firm was Johnson, Clapham and Morris.

Robert Bagley

Comment by Robert bagley

Nothing has been deleted from this blog. It will take a while for comments to appear as I have to approve each one in turn. I have no interest in censoring comments, much as I have no interest in my football team representing a community in which it is not wanted. But time will tell as to how pertinent a point that will be.The delay in comments appearing is due to the fact I no longer update or moderate this site. However as long as people see fit to comment I shall see fit to publish.

Comment by Taylor

Having read all the arguments for and against the development and studied the history of the playing fields etc. the simple facts are …..

1 the playing fields are currently fenced off to the public so no one at present gets benefit from them anyway, ( apart from Moston Juniors when they are using the fields who will benefit from the improved facility anyway).

2 FC United will provide facilities open to the community 7 days a week when the stadium is completed and will considerably improve the rural aspect of the area by way of improved lanscaping, tree / shrub planting etc

3 there are vast areas of open space in Moston, across the road next to the cemetry are huge playnig fields for all the people of Moston to continue enjoying and Broadhurt Park adjacent to the playing fields too, so no one in Moston will be deprived of open spaces whatsoever, so there is room for everyone.

4 The development will bring in extra money for local businesses and create new jobs which is vital at this time of hardship for families.

5 FC United,s average home attendances are only about 2000 so traffic congestion and parking problems are not going to be a problem.

On a final note, If Sir Edward Tootal Mr Broadhurst and Ronald Johnson were alive today they would be pleased and proud to welcome FC United to Moston, a club that works hard for local community and provides affordable and spirited football for all, making friends not millionares.

So lets not have any more negativity,
” Surely this will be good thing for Moston and North Manchester”

Comment by Chris

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