Bannsiders hope to strengthen links in community with redevelopment

Coleraine plan to develop the far side of the ground as well as installing a synthetic pitch. �Russell Pritchard / Presseye
Coleraine plan to develop the far side of the ground as well as installing a synthetic pitch. �Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Coleraine FC Chairman Colin McKendry hopes a redeveloped Coleraine Showgrounds will be a real community hub for area.

The Bannsiders are one of several clubs hoping to secure funding from DCAL to redevelop the ground.

In an interview with Times Sport last week McKendry said it was exciting times for local football, and for his own club in particular.

“This is massive news for the local game,” he told Times Sport.

“I think there are a lot of clubs whose grounds need developed.

“The Showgrounds is certainly in that bracket. I think we are just behind The Oval when it comes to need.

“The stadium needs investment, so this news has just come about at the perfect time.

“Our club has always been at the heart of the community, but I feel the redevelopment will enhance that further.

“With the installation of a synthetic surface local teams will be able to avail of it as well as our own.

“With the Harry Gregg Foundation and the Aacdemy working alongside ourselves The Showgrounds will be a real community hub for Coleraine and the surrounding area.

“We have some exciting plans in the offing and I would love to see it all come to fruition.

“We will be putting together a strong case and I feel we certainly meet the criteria set out in last week’s announcement.

“We have some very experienced people working on our application.

“If we are given the green light to proceed with our application further after this initial 12 week consultation period we will have a committee in place featuring a wide cross section of the community to lead this project forward.”

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson says a proposed £36m programme of investment in local football grounds has the potential to revolutionise the game in Northern Ireland.

“It is my hope that this research, will help inform any decisions that will be made by the Minister in the coming months,” said Nelson.