Bishopbriggs club West Park United celebrate 40 years of football in the community
A Bishopbriggs football club which is 40 years old this year is determined not to let the coronavirus shutdown put the brakes on its celebrations.
West Park United FC has been providing football in the community since it was founded in 1980.
And despite the current restrictions they kicked off the party with a keepie up challenge, which not only kept up spirits but helped raise precious funds for a local foodbank.
The club set the challenge to their West Park family to put on their West Park kit and do 20 keepie-ups each, with the aim of reaching the overall target of 2020 to denote its 40th year.
The club were overwhelmed with the response, with 180 videos posted to its Facebook account from players, coaches and parents across all age group teams, both boys and girls.
Even West Park former player and ex-professional Kevin Harper joined in. The ex-Dunfermline, Hibs, Derby and Portsmouth player and recent Albion Rovers manager did his bit and posted a video, helping the club smash through its 2,020 target with a total 3,600 total keepie-ups recorded.
The club requested donations to support the participants to raise funds that would be split equally between the club and a local community charity doing important work during these unprecedented times.
That meant that of £1,560 raised, £780 was donated to local charity organisation Glasgow North East Food Bank.
West Park secretary Andy Burns commented: “Our club has a rich history of providing and developing opportunities and supporting boys and girls to get involved in sport and unfortunately the current lockdown measures mean we haven’t been able to celebrate our 40th anniversary as we would have liked.
“The keepie-up challenge was a small way to bring the club together in celebration of our big four oh.”
He continued: “Coronavirus may be severely limiting what we can do just now, but we wanted to use this time productively and pro-actively to ensure the West Park family continue to be connected, support our players to keep active and give back to the communities that we live in.
“The club have been humbled by the response to ‘West Park Day’, and it was an amazing experience for everyone across the club to see so many videos being posted showcasing the joy and fun that our club and football brings to many people in our community.
“We are delighted with the sum raised and ecstatic to be able to support the efforts of Glasgow North East Foodbank with our donation towards the very important work they are doing during these times.
“The engagement of the players, coaches and supporters was superb, and it has been a welcome tonic during this period of lockdown to see our wider club family out in their West Park kits and kicking a ball about. It’s difficult to fully describe the joy that is clear to see in many of the videos.”
The club has grown substantially over the years and now boasts over 500 registered players and 100 registered coaches and provides a pathway for both male and female players, aged from four to 21 and includes a senior women’s team, competing in the women’s national league set-up.
Over the last 40 years, an impressive list of the club’s former players have gone on to become professional footballers with clubs in Scotland and England, most notably James McFadden (Motherwell, Everton), Simon Lynch (Celtic, Dundee, Preston NE, Hearts), Tam McManus (Dundee, Hibs), Burton O’Brien (Livingston, Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Utd), Gerry Britton (Celtic, Partick Thistle) and Kevin Harper.
“We have plans for a big celebration at the end of the year when we are able”, added Andy, “but in the meantime we would love to hear from our former players and coaches and build up our archive with any pictures or memorabilia from past competitions and games.”
The club can be contacted by emailing [email protected] or via its Facebook page.