NEWTONGRANGE Star moved into
their new home at the weekend – marking the start of a new
era in the club's history.
Redwood Bing, which once stood in sad testimony to the demise
of the area's coal industry, is now the site of a £1.25m
football stadium and a new focal point for the former mining community.
The Star, who beat Ayrshire team Auchinleck Talbot 2-0 in Saturday's
gala match to mark the opening of the new facilities, are now
optimistic of a bright and successful future at New Victoria Park.
Speaking at the opening of the stadium on Friday, club secretary
Gregor Dorans said Newtongrange Star would be the envy of every
junior club in Scotland, with the best facilities in the country.
"When players come up here and see the facilities on offer,
we will have no difficulty in signing new players. We can now
be confident of bringing the Scottish Junior Cup to Newtongrange,
which has eluded us for 70 years," he said.
"The members of Newtongrange Star who have had the foresight
to go ahead with this project have once again put the Star in
the forefront of Scottish junior football."
The 5000-capacity stadium – complete with pavilion, covered
enclosure and social club – was built by the Walker Group
(Scotland) in return for the club's old Victoria Park ground,
which is now being developed for housing.
The project was carried out
in partnership with Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Limited who
cleared the bing to create the playing surface and grassed spectator
slopes, landscaped the surrounding area and created access from
LEEL Chairman Bob Maiden, also speaking on Friday, hailed the
development as a "superb amenity" for the entire community.
He said the stadium was a reflection of the growing confidence
in Newtongrange as a village with a future and a major step forward
in the regeneration of the village. Walker Group Chairman Mike
Walker said this was the latest in a number of positive changes
which had taken place in Newtongrange over the past 12 years,
and a proud day for the village.
Mr Walker thanked LEEL for its help in bringing the project to
fruition and paid tribute to Midlothian District Council and Lothian
Regional Council for their assistance.
Midlothian MP Eric Clarke, a guest at the inaugural match, also
wished the club well for the future.
"Newtongrange Star Football Club should be proud of these
new facilities and I hope they augur continued success on the
playing field," he said.
"With the support of the village behind them, the future
is not in the stars but firmly with the Star."
By Julie Douglas (Advertiser)
Pictures by David Howard
Presentation involving referee Alan Gemmell,
Star captain Kevin McColl, Midlothian MP Eric Clarke & Auchinleck
captain Tom MacDonald.