Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Autumn 2008

Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Autumn 2008

I watch a lot of YouTube videos in bed at night in an attempt to lull myself to sleep. I have mixed results with this tactic. It sometimes works if I am in the mood to listen to some soft rock, but most of the time I opt for punk rock bands of the 70’s or Britpop anthems from the 90’s.These tracks only serve to energise me, but last night I found myself having to make the conscious decision to turn off my tv in the wee small hours of the morning. I had been watching the vlogs of Footy Adventures, which I would heartily recommend to those of you who are interested in football stadiums and architecture.

I stopped watching one video where our knowledgeable guide was visiting all 42 football league grounds in Scotland. I did not want to switch this off, but if anyone needs their beauty sleep then it is me.

These vlogs reminded me of a series of articles that I was sharing with my blog readers, back in 2015/16.

Between 2002-2008 I was Scottish Correspondent for the wonderfully professional Groundtastic – The Football Grounds Magazine. I can not speak highly enough of the editors and contributors to this glossy magazine that is jam-packed with interesting information and photographic gold.

I haven’t been a subscriber to the magazine since my marriage imploded in 2008 and I was forced to leave Scotland. Since then my dexterity has deteriorated to such an extent that I now find it impossible to simply thumb through a magazine.

Imagine my excitement then when I visited the Groundtastic website to discover that they now have a digital edition available   I’ll definitely be subscribing.

Anyway, over the next few months I will be sharing a number of articles that I penned during my time North of the Border, including my regular Scots Scene news round-up of potential football ground developments and improvements. The following is from Autumn 2008 and it will be evident to ground enthusiasts and football fans just how much has changed from the era in which it was written…

To view the previous Scots Scene articles that I wrote in Winter 2002, Spring 2003, Summer 2003, Autumn 2003, Winter 2003, Spring 2004, Summer 2004 , Autumn 2004, Winter 2004, Spring 2005, Summer 2005, Autumn 2005, Winter 2005, Spring 2006, Summer 2006, Autumn 2006, Winter 2006, Spring 2007, Summer 2007, Autumn 2007, Winter 2007, Spring 2008 and Summer 2008, click here.

Enjoy a short step back in time.


ABERDEEN will plough ahead with a feasibility study into finding a site for a new 22,000-seat stadium despite the fact that their partners, Aberdeen City Council, are facing a cash crisis. The Dons will therefore underwrite the city council’s share of the business case and concept design stages of the study. It is hoped that the feasibility study for the £50m stadium will be completed early next year. Kings’ Links and Loirston Loch are the two designated sites being considered for the new ground, which could be built by 2012. Speaking on the club website, Aberdeen managing director Duncan Fraser said: “There is a very strong feeling amongst the fans, business leaders, sports organisations and the general public that Aberdeen needs to have a community stadium. The redevelopment of Pittodrie is not an option, so it is absolutely crucial that we continue to look at the deliverability of these two sites.”


Innovate Cowdenbeath Limited are the new owners of Scottish third division COWDENBEATH and have outlined plans to see the club relocated into a new stadium boasting an all-weather pitch, office space, sports related therapy facilities and business and education related facilities, all of which will be available for community use. The process of sourcing a site for the relocation has identified four potential sites but the preferred location is directly off the A92 and negotiations are ongoing with the landowner to secure the site. James Methven on behalf of Innovate said: “Naturally the part of the deal that helps facilitate the project is the redevelopment of Central Park. As most people have heard, another company who had been interested in the site pre Innovate’s involvement had made an outline planning application to get a change of use on Central Park. Their approach was completely against normal procedure and the application was finally retracted at Innovate’s request prior to going to the planning authority. Innovate have now made formal representation to Fife Council’s Mid Fife Local Plan through the proper channels to have Central Park rezoned for a mixed use development. It has to be said that to date Fife Council have been hugely helpful whenever there has been a need to contact them. Timescales wise, Fife Council have issued a key milestone schedule outlining their road map for the local plan process to adoption. In general, it is anticipated that by Spring 2010 there will be an adopted plan. This fits in with Innovate’s target programme, in that we hope to have the new stadium under construction by 2010. Innovate are currently interviewing design teams and hope within the next four weeks to appoint an Architect and Engineer who will begin designing the new stadium facility. The proposal is to create a design committee and an invitation has been extended to the Supporters Club to appoint a representative to the committee so that they have an active involvement in the design process.


After GRETNA entered administration and dropped out of the Scottish Football League it was feared that football in the town would be no more but the newly formed Gretna FC have now been admitted to the East of Scotland League. However, the new team will not be able to play its games at Raydale Park, the traditional home of the club. It will play its home matches at the Everholm, in nearby Annan, after negotiating a deal with Annandale and Eskdale Sports Trust.


Ross County have launched an appeal for assistance in raising the necessary fans to build new floodlights for Victoria Park.  It is estimated that a total of £90,000 will be required to build and install the floodlights so that the clubs ground will meet the new SFA guidlines, which allows the club to compete in the Scottish Football League and Scottish FA competitions. Subsequently, supporters were asked to chip in a minimum of £50 towards the cost of replacements for the current lighting rig. County chairman Roy MacGregor said: “I am pleased to say that our investment over the years has set us up to meet all the SFA and SFL ground criteria but for our floodlights which fall below the required lux levels. We therefore have no choice but to upgrade.”


We wrote a while ago about Ross County’s appeal to their fans to help meet the cost of replacement floodlights for their Dingwall ground. As ever, the fans have rallied to the cause and the club are nearing their £90,000 target. The bulk of the donations have come from those close to Victoria Park but Staggies fans travel far and wide and have dug deep to help their club with fans from Lincolnshire and Sussex sending cheques.

Ranald Gilbert, Ross County’s Head of Administration, said: “We were absolutely inundated in the first few days following the call for help. Cheques were coming in from people left right and centre – far exceeding our expectations. What was particularly heartening is some of the stories that have come along with the donations. We’ve had contributions from Season Ticket Holders, Lottery Agents and Shareholders who already support the Club in various different ways but we’ve also had letters come in from across the country – people who left Ross-Shire a long time ago but still have a soft spot for the Club. I think that what is really nice for these people is that not only are they helping Ross County, but their support will be marked at Victoria Park on the memorial plaque to those making contributions to the fund.”

The club hope to have the floodlights in place before they kick-off their league season against Dundee on 2 August. There is still time to send a donation or hand in some cash at the friendly game against Crawley Town or the Challenge Cup match against St Johnstone due to be played at Victoria Park on 19 and 26 July respectively. If you are sending a contribution to the appeal by post mark your letter “Floodlight Appeal”. All contributors paying the minimum £50 will receive a place on a memorial plaque and entered into a prize draw with prizes including Corporate Hospitality for 8 people in the Victoria Suite, 2 East Stand season tickets and a new 2008-09 home shirt signed by the First Team.


Highland League football club Clachnacuddin has renounced the lease it held for Grant Street Park in Inverness as it tackles debt problems.

Highland Council, which owns the park, has agreed to examine arrangements for the team continuing to play there.

The authority said it was committed to working with the club to ensure a “robust business plan” was developed.

Clach has made a commitment to repay its outstanding debt to the council’s Inverness Common Good Fund.


COVE RANGERS will quit Allan Park for a multi-million pound ground by August 2009.

The ambitious community-based facility at Calder Park, Redmoss will be the cornerstone of the Highland League champions’ bid for entry to the SFL.

A delegation from the SFL will visit Allan Park tomorrow to scrutinise Cove’s application.

But club chairman Keith Moorhouse insists the main thrust of their bid will be Calder Park, which has been given the all clear by the Scottish Executive.

Moorhouse said: “The proposed new facility has been approved by the Scottish Executive.

“Everything is in place, although there is one small detail that our lawyers are smoothing out.

“We expect to have that resolved within the next few days, then the move to a new facility will be 100% signed, sealed and delivered.

“Our target is for the new ground to be in place by August 2009.”

The £5million development would be among the most impressive in the Third Division should their bid to join the league be accepted.

But Spartans, who are ready to move into a £3.5m ground, Annan Athletic, Preston Athletic and Edinburgh City stand in the way of senior football.

“The new facility will have a fourth generation artificial surface,” said Moorhouse.

“A further number of full-sized floodlit artificial pitches will also be built, which will be available for community use.

“There will also be five seven-a-side pitches, a full sized badminton court and an indoor sports hall.

“These facilities will not only add to the SFL but also the local community.”

After tomorrow’s SFL visit, Cove will present a final presentation to the 29 member clubs at Hampden on Thursday, July 3.

At present, Allan Park does not meet SFL specifications, although a dedicated team are working tirelessly to improve the ground.

“A lot of work will have to be done to upgrade Allan Park, and that is part of our plan,” said Moorhouse.

“We have a squad of people working at the ground.

“A lot has still to be done but we believe we can achieve that by the start of forthcoming season.”

Spartans are viewed as favourites to secure a step up to senior football.

But Moorhouse insists Cove’s application is stronger.

He said: “There are clubs who have put themselves in the front-running, but it comes down to the presentation.

“Cove Rangers realise that we have stiff competition, and by no means are we classed as favourites.

“But we have as good a chance, if not better, than most of the other clubs.

“It all comes down to the presentation on the day where you have to convince the member clubs that we are the right option to go forward.

“From a football perspective, I believe that Cove have more to offer than the other applicants for entry to the SFL.

“We are realistic but if we do succeed we are not going into the Third Division just to make up the numbers.

“We want to win it which will mean strengthening, and our manager John Sheran and I have already had discussions about what we need to do to achieve that.”



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