Fletcher Moss Rangers have denied asking Manchester United for a donation of £2m ($2.8m) in return for their early efforts in helping to develop Marcus Rashford. The 18-year-old academy graduate has exploded on to the first-team scene at Old Trafford of late, taking full advantage of Louis van Gaal's striker woes to notch a brace in each of his opening two senior appearances against FC Midtjylland and Arsenal respectively.
Rashford joined United's youth setup from Fletcher Moss, a junior club based in Didsbury on the bank of the River Mersey that has previously helped to nurture the likes of Danny Welbeck, Wes Brown, Tyler Blackett, Ravel Morrison, Zeki Fryers and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
Despite being locally renowned as a prolific producer of young talent, however, the community outfit look to be facing an uncertain future due to the dilapidated status of its facilities. Academy development officer and skills coach Dave Horrocks recently told Press Association Sport that the current building was falling into disrepair, with the local council unable to afford the necessary improvements.
He further claimed that a £2m investment in the site would enable them to construct purpose-built changing rooms, while secretary Ron Jamieson was quoted as saying by The Mail: "We are not asking for the earth. They [United] have had plenty out of us. They got £16m for Welbeck — and it didn't cost £16m to bring him in, did it? They just take, take, take and we never get anything back. So £2m is not a lot to someone like them."
Fletcher Moss have now officially rejected those claims, however, insisting that they are currently investigating other avenues of potential funding including a community asset transfer (CAT) and a feasibility study.
A club statement read: "It has been suggested in at least one national newspaper recently that Fletcher Moss Rangers are asking Manchester United for a donation of £2m for the development of Marcus whilst with our club. This is not the case. Fletcher Moss Rangers are currently exploring a Community Asset Transfer of the clubhouse where we base our activities as part of a strategy to secure the club's long-term future.
"To this end, we are working with our advisers (Can Do Communities CIC) in carrying out a feasibility study to develop a community hub on Merseybank playing fields. The feasibility study will include a business plan, architect drawings, community consultation, governance strengthening and incorporation.
"This will enable Fletcher Moss Rangers to be in a position to manage the building on a long-term lease from Manchester City Council and potentially develop the site, leading to the long-term sustainability of the club. Should this be the case, our club will be working with partners to explore all relevant channels of funding or investment."