Kintyre Park pavilion project kicks off

The new match official's extension at Kintyre Park.
The new match official's extension at Kintyre Park.

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Campbeltown’s oldest and longest-running football club, due to celebrate its 102nd anniversary in 2021, has launched a new project to develop Kintyre Park.

The project, which will be ongoing to address future necessary needs and issues, has started with the renovation and extension of the changing accommodation at the town’s historic community football ground, the home of Campbeltown Pupils AFC.

As the area’s only surviving Scottish Amateur Football League representative and lease holders of the facility for the last 36 years from Argyll and Bute Council, the Pupils, as they are better known, have undertaken an important and necessary chore by engaging Calum McKinven, building contractors, to remove the old corrugated iron roofing and replace it with new pro-forma plastisol sheeting.

The club has also raised funds to build an extension to the building on the inward side to include a new match official’s dressing room and boiler-room facility.

As a club official explained the club intends to renew the electrics and replace the old showering system to provide players and officials with modern washing facilities, along with other works.

The renovations will create more space within the two original changing areas and the same utilized to provide additional seating to accommodate today’s 16-player squad systems.

A spokesperson said: ‘It is fair to say that a more ambitious plan was originally mooted, but the country’s exit from the European Union and subsequent loss of social funding put an end to thoughts beyond the club’s immediate means.

‘Left with an uphill task after Brexit, we turned to the community and a host of interested benefactors to help our cause.

‘As you can imagine, as part of an extremely kind and giving community, at no time was the club found wanting in pursuit of the required funds to reach its goal.’

The pavilion project has started and still has a few months to run, but improvements are already in place to changing accommodation originally built by the club and rededicated to the sport in 1987.

On that occasion, a complete building and drainage scheme was carried out and the park reopened with the visit of professional club Greenock Morton.

Ally McGraw – famous as a player with Glasgow Rangers and later legendary manager at the ‘tail of the Bank’ – and his assistant John McMaster – of Aberdeen’s European Cup Winners Cup fame – marked the occasion by bringing their full squad to Kintyre Park.

It was a day in which the Pupils Football Club would excel beyond belief, as they had the temerity to score almost from the first kick when Kevan Gilchrist rammed the ball home in the very first attack of the game, only to be pegged back by a last minute penalty kick as the match finished in a 1-1 draw. A proud day and proud moment in the history of the local club.

A number of famous players have worn the Pupils’ white jersey in bygone days, notably amateur and junior internationalist the Rev BB Blackwood, John Duran, captain of Swansea City, Hugh Smith of Sheffield Wednesday and the incredible Johnny Moscardini – capped nine times for Italy.

The Wee Toon also had players who appeared at full international level for Scotland, with Peter Purcell of Glasgow Rangers and Neil McBain of Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool the pick of the crop.

The club would like to recognise the contribution these players made to local football with a photographic record at the park, the same to include the club’s more modern luminaries who achieved senior football and amateur international recognition after gracing the green swathes of Kintyre Park.

Finally, the club would like to thank everyone who contributed to the project, including members of the public who selected its cause and gave freely to it.

Also, the various trusts, businesses, grant authorities and community support funds like Energiekontor UK, Scottish Football Partnership, the late Maisie Wareham, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, Tesco Bags of Help/Groundwork UK, Cooperative Community Fund, The Rotary Club of Campbeltown, Campbeltown Community Council/Tangy 2 Windfarm, Campbeltown Common Good Fund and Campbeltown Loyal Rangers Supporters Club.

The spokesperson added: ‘A special mention must go to our many supporters whose backing provides welcome encouragement throughout the year, our main sponsor, McFadyen Contractors Ltd, for lengthy and invaluable financial and technical assistance, Phoenix Motors, and Jim and Carol Green of the Feathers Inn for hospitality and sponsorship, James and Elaine the Kilbrannan Bar, Mick at the Ailsa, Robert at Kinloch Bar, Wee Toon Trends and Galbraith and Cochrane’s for assistance rendered with our weekly lottery. Also, appreciation to everyone who contributes towards the upkeep of the club by purchasing our tickets every week.

‘A thank you is also due to the various contractors which will take part in the project: HN Thomson, plumbing; George Conley, building work; Neil Galbraith, electrician; and Calum McKinven, main contractor.

‘A board will be erected at Kintyre Park to acknowledge the assistance of those who gave to our cause. Thank you is simply not enough.’