Pitch Perfect

WORK is about to begin on the new home ground of an East End football club.

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Jim Strathdee with Glasgow Girls FC players Cara McInnon and Dionne Polland
Jim Strathdee with Glasgow Girls FC players Cara McInnon and Dionne Polland

Over the past year Glasgow Girls FC has raised more than £80,000 through grants and donations to build changing rooms at the Budhill Park pitches in Baillieston.

As reported in the Evening Times in July, the club was granted planning permission by Glasgow City Council to site the changing rooms in the public park.

It means the girls will be able to use the pitches, which had been out of use for more than five years, as their home ground.

Now, builders have moved in to prepare the ground and install all the facilities needed ahead of the beginning of the girls' football season in March.

In February, the Baillieston-based club was given three portable changing rooms, worth around £30,000, by the Scottish Football Partnership.

The cabins have been converted into home and away changing rooms and a coaches' room, and are kitted out with benches, toilets and wash basins.

They will be re-sited and connected to mains plumbing and sewage and electricity when work starts on Monday, January 7.

Before work could begin, the club raised more than £50,000 through grants from organisations including the Baillieston Area Committee, Glasgow Regeneration Agency, Glasgow Life, Awards for All, SportScotland and the Scottish Football Association.

The 180 players in the club's under nines, 11s, 13s, 15s, 17s and the senior team clubbed together to raise £3700 through bag packing days at a local supermarket and organising events like quizzes and dances.

Work, which includes fencing off the pitches and installing security lighting, should be completed within two weeks.

Jim Strathdee, founder and chairman of Glasgow Girls FC, said he was "excited".

He said: "I can't believe it is actually happening, it has taken a year and a half since the day we first discussed it, and now the builders coming in.

"There have been so many obstacles, but it just shows you can get there.

"We would recommended it to other football clubs, there are a lot of unused football pitches in Glasgow."

Jim, 49, who coaches the under-17 squad , said the community in Budhill had come forward to support the girls' bid to use the pitches, and many local shops and businesses are now sponsoring them.

He added: "The view of girls' football is changing. It used to be boys that got things and now the girls are showing they can do it to. It is great for women's football.

"The locals in Budhill have given a lot of support – there is a feeling of community.

"I would like to thank Stuart McCaffrey, at the Scottish Football Partnership, Glasgow Regeneration Agency, Glasgow Life, Sported, Scottish Football Association's 'Growing the Game' fund, Sportscotland Facilities, Awards for All, and local councillor David Turner."

For more information about Glasgow Girls FC, visit www.glasgowgirlsfc.com

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Sport

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