A POPULAR football club which helped Scotland superstar James McFadden on the path to glory has celebrated its 30th anniversary.
West Park United originally started out as St Matthew’s after the local parish church in Bishopbriggs, but the decision was made to broaden out the appeal of the club and include boys from the neighbouring towns of Lenzie, Kirkintilloch, Springburn and Possil.
Having produced numerous talents for the senior game – including the likes of McFadden, legendary Partick Thistle striker Gerry Britton and former Celtic and Preston North End forward Simon Lynch – West Park have more than made their mark on Scottish youth football and at one point were considered amongst the best boys’ clubs in the country.
Andy Burns, the current club secretary and 1999s coach, said; “Our anniversary do was a wonderful night. For so many guys that have passed through West Park there’s that knowledge and pride that they’ve been part of a club.
“We emphasis how important that is and get all the teams to recognise that. People do see them out with their tracksuits and comment ‘oh, he’s a West Park boy’.”
Andy added: “The parents play a big part in it, because they need to feel their boys are getting something out of it.”
West Park United have boys’ clubs from the age of five up to 16, though an extension back up to under-21 level – and even an amateur team – is something they are keen to achieve.
The club’s work in developing young talent was exemplified when part of the transfer fee from McFadden’s move from Motherwell to the Premiership in 2003 was given to West Park.
Andy said: “The club got something like £3,500 or £4,000 from his move to Everton. It was a compliment to the club for developing players at all levels.”
PARK LIFE: Boys from West Park United’s 1999s team are pictured (in blue) in a match at Turnbull High School against Seafar Villa.