Local coach highlights lack of pitches

A Moodiesburn football coach has hit out at North Lanarkshire Council for failing to provide decent sports facilities in the area.

John Johnson, manager at Bridgend Football Club, says his teams regularly struggle to host football games in or near to their home base.

He argues the only available park on Saturdays are the more modern 3G and 4G facilities which cost almost four times as much as other public grass parks.

Bridgend currently has around 150 young players across a number of different age groups.

And each week, Mr Johnson says they are forced to fork out extra money to cover additional costs.

He said: “I’ve been battling North Lanarkshire for a long time now but they just seem to be putting barriers up every step of the way.

“It’s just not cost-effective for us and every other week we face a battle to get a park for our home games.

“The council don’t seem to realise the low-income background some of our kids come from. We’re trying to keep costs down so as many children as possible can play.

“It costs almost £80 to rent their 3G or 4G parks, whereas it was only around £20 for one of the local grass parks.

“Luckily, we were able to use Chryston’s ground in Glenboig for a game recently. They are another team who have had to move out of the area to get a park.”

Mr Johnson has also said that he and some other coaches had also offered to renovate one of the dressing rooms at the north end of Moodiesburn which they would use as a community hub for all local teams.

He added: “How long is this supposed to continue before someone actually engages with us to sort something out?

“We have offered to sort the dressing room at Glenmannor at our expense and have also asked to site a container there as well for equipment storage and a home dressing room.

“This would all be done to any specification that the council would like us to do

“Surely we can get planning to agree to this even if it is only until the proposed development for this area has started.

“But we know what they’re trying to do. They’re leaving the cheaper public parks to rot so they can force clubs to use the more expensive 3G and 4G parks they have built.”

North Lanarkshire Council denied they were forcing clubs into using the more expensive parks and said they would be looking to develop new parks in the area soon.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of the need to improve the provision of sports pitches in the area and discussions have taken place recently with a view to increasing the number of pitches available.

“We are happy to meet representatives of Bridgend Football club to discuss their concerns.”