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 Dalhousie Road.
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