‘Once in a 
lifetime 
opportunity’

Coleraine FC will be applying for funding from DCAL to develop The Showgrounds. Mandatory Credit Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com
Coleraine FC will be applying for funding from DCAL to develop The Showgrounds. Mandatory Credit Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com
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Coleraine FC Chairman, Colin McKendry, has told Times Sport the proposed £36m funding for local football is a ‘once in a liftime opportunity’.

Minister for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Caral Ni Chuilin, announced the plans last week and a 12-week consultation process has started.

“This is a good day for football in the north,” said the Minister.

“The last decade or so has witnessed a marked improvement in the enhancement of stadia following years of historic underinvestment and it is important that a broad range of clubs have the opportunity to benefit.

“I’m aware that football clubs have waited patiently for this day and I ask them and the wider public to have their say.

“I want this consultation to be meaningful and inclusive as the responses I receive will help formulate thinking and shape the criteria ahead of the commencement of the application process next year.”

There are five strands in the programme with Coleraine FC in line for Strand 2 - Significant Sub-Regional Stadium.

“As a club we will be pushing forward with applying for Strand 2,” confirmed Colin McKendry.

“We fit the criteria well and we can pick up where we left off before in terms of the plans for the ground.”

McKendry confirmed the club would be looking to install an artificial pitch as the main pitch, build a new grandstand with changing rooms, corporate, office and media facilites, and tidy up other aspects of the ground.

“We don’t need a 20,000 seater stadium, but we want to have a UEFA Category III stadium,” he said.

“We have areas which we wish to develop, one of them being the installation of a synthetic pitch.

“We would also like to construct a stand on the opposite side of the ground.

“As part of this we would be able to have new changing rooms, media and corporate facilites and office space for the General Manager and Academy staff.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us and for the Irish League as a whole. I don’t see this happening again, certainly not in my lifetime.

“This can help take us on to the next level both on and off the pitch.”

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