New ground marks start of new era for ambitious Duns

Duns players up for the 2014/15 season in their new ground.
Duns players up for the 2014/15 season in their new ground.

Monday night will mark the dawn of a new era for Duns Football Club when they play their first game at their new home ground.

Their new stadium, New Hawthorn Park, has literally been built from scratch over the past year.

Manchester City under 18 squad

Manchester City under 18 squad

To mark the occasion, The Dingers will play a Manchester City academy side in the first game on the new pitch.

Duns also plan to unfurl the club flag, and as this last flew over the original Hawthorn Park 42 years ago, it is a ceremony which will have a special symbolic meaning, especially to some of the members of that team, who have been invited along as guests ‘to bridge the gap between old and new.’

Club chairman Colin Pike will be a proud man.

He said: “Our ground evolvement started three years ago and in hard practical terms 12 months ago when we had our pitch relaid complete with a full drainage system installed, plus ducting laid round the pitch looking ahead to the time when the club install floodlights.

Duns FC new ground, with fence, floodlights and disabled access.

Duns FC new ground, with fence, floodlights and disabled access.

“Having had that completed the next logical piece of the jigsaw was to erect the perimeter fence.

“By this stage all the required funding had been sought and was in place with a grant having been awarded by the Scottish Football Partnership to bridge our funding gap for the fence.

“Having completed that we now knew exactly what ‘footprint’ we had to work with.

“What you now see at New Hawthorn Park is the start of the dream of the reborn Duns Football Club, although we aspire to so much more. As a club we are hugely positive about youth football and disability.

“On the youths, we run various age group teams down to eight years old. Various members of these teams have helped doing a number of jobs as our new ground has taken shape.

“We have a dedicated area in the new ground for wheelchair users but thought why should they be ‘made’ to go to only one area, after all, anyone else going to a game with a mate will go in together then to the same place to watch the game.

“So, to this end, we have made our hard standing paths and other viewing areas wide enough to permit a wheelchair.

“On a historical point we chose to retain the name of the club’s original ground and will be flying the club flag which flew over the old ground for the last game played there.

“Our next project is to erect a covered enclosure for which we have the base laid already complete with drainage and electricity supply.

“This will then put us on the cusp of applying for a license and full SFA membership, entry back into the Scottish Cup where we always feel we should be, given our long history of participation in that distinguished competition.

“An application, if still available, will be forthcoming to the Lowland League as what we see is our natural path of progression and improvement.”

Duns will be officially opening their new ground with a game against a Manchester City Academy side.

This was born from the fact that the chairman’s daughter works for the English Premier league club and was able to put her father in touch with City’s head of Academy , who, on hearing of the club’s work with youth football, agreed to send a side north.

As the big day approaches arrangements are well in hand. Advance tickets have been on sale for a few weeks and are going well.

There will be a pay at the gate facility on the evening of the game to compliment that however.

Parking is available at the ground, the facilitation of which shall be administered by Duns Rotary Club.

The club are producing a 24-page full colour souvenir programme to commemorate the occasion which shall be on sale in and around the ground.

The Manchester City squad, who have just returned from a pre-season training camp in Croatia, will travel north on the day of the game and be hosted to a pre-match meal at the White Swan Hotel in Duns. They will leave after the game travelling up to Glasgow where they will take on their Celtic counterparts the following evening.

The City under-18 squad comprises 27 players from eight different countries of which 11 are internationals.