Coldstream Amateurs ready to support Home Park upgrade

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COLDSTREAM Football Club is prepared to give the town’s amateur club written assurance that new changing rooms will be included in plans to upgrade facilities at Home Park.

The amateurs had feared that the senior club’s proposed changes would leave them homeless and force the team to fold. However, Mark Baillie, chairman of the amateur committee, has indicated that his club will fully support the senior club’s plans as soon as a written guarantee is received.

Senior club officials say they are prepared to provide this and have confirmed that an extension to the pavilion for the amateurs will now form part of the plan.

Gerald Tait, the senior club committee member behind the project, said: “We have been holding regular talks with the amateurs and we have good relations. If the amateurs need written assurance that an extension to the pavilion will be part of the planning application, then we are prepared to do that.”

The senior club must upgrade facilities by 2015 in order retain full membership status of the Scottish Football Association and intends to submit a planning application to Scottish Borders Council before Christmas.

This includes erecting a solid two-metre high perimeter fence around two sides of the top pitch and a pitch fence within the confines of the enclosed ground.

The SFA’s new criteria also states that each team must have its own shower block. Because the pavilion currently has only two shower blocks shared between four teams, Coldstream would be unable to stage senior and amateur matches on the same day.

That led to concerns that the amateurs would be left homeless. However, Mark Baillie, chairman of the amateur committee, said: “We support the senior club’s overall objective – retaining full SFA membership status – but we have to look after ourselves. We are seeking written assurances that new accommodation for the amateurs will form part of the plan. If we receive that, we will give the proposal our full support”

In a statement, the senior club points out that losing full membership would have serious financial implications for both the amateurs and the juniors.

The statement reads: “The senior club receives about £7,000 per annum from the SFA. That means Coldstream Amateurs (a separate entity from the senior club) and Coldstream Juniors (part of the senior club but run by a separate committee) have free use of the pavilion and floodlights, which normally costs around £4,000 per annum to finance and maintain. Removal of the senior club from membership of the SFA would mean that the amateurs and juniors would have to contribute towards these costs.

“All stakeholders whether junior or senior players, committee, sponsors, supporters and the Coldstream Amateurs set-up – a total of around 200 people – have a lot to lose should the senior club lose its SFA membership.”