Football's coming home
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
FOOTBALL'S coming home for Warrenpoint Town FC.
A cash injection from Newry and Mourne Council into the Premiership club means the Seasiders could soon be able to play their home games back in their own grounds once again.
Since being promoted to the Irish Football Association's (IFA) Premiership last year Warrenpoint haven't been able to play their home games at Milltown as it doesn't meet IFA or Sport NI standards for a Premiership side.
Instead, the team has had to play their home games some 40 miles away at Dungannon Swifts' Stangmore Park.
However, that is all set to change. Newry and Mourne Council was last night (Monday) expected to approve a massive cash injection of £225,250 into the club.
The funding will go towards a major redevelopment of the club grounds that will include two new seated stands, a new terraced stand and a media centre. The project will also see the grounds receive new dugouts.
The original council allocation of funding for the club was set to be £170,000 but given the club's unprecedented success over the past few years a proposal to increase it dramatically achieved cross party support.
Warrenpoint councillor Connaire McGreevy originally proposed increasing the team's funding after a presentation by the club illustrated the contribution they were making to sport in the area.
The SDLP group leader said he was delighted to see the club getting the recognition it deserved.
“We need to have the team playing as soon as possible in front of its own supporters and if everything goes according to plan the club will be eligible to play at its own ground by December," he said.
“The story of the club and its rise through the ranks of junior and intermediate football has been truly inspirational.
“It underlines that with the support of the community and with the necessary visionary leadership on and off the pitch, dreams can become a reality."
And the Warrenpoint man clearly doesn't expect that success to peak in the IFA Premiership.
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“All of the new facilities will meet the criteria set down by UEFA in the event of the club eventually attaining European competition status," he said.
“The massive social and economic benefits of having a senior football club in the Newry and Mourne area cannot be over emphasised.
“As a council we have a responsibility to invest in sport, at all levels and across all codes.
“The investment in Warrenpoint Town is part of a capital project and will be paid over 16 years with the council retaining ultimate ownership of the grounds complex.
“The bonus for Warrenpoint Town is that is that the club will be able to get access to the grant support down the line for further developments.
“The partnership between the Council and Warrenpoint Town is now on a very solid footing. The objective now is continue identifying additional income streams from across a wide range of sporting and government agencies."
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