Athletic unveil plans to return to Bellshill

Paul Fox outlined the club's plans
Paul Fox outlined the club's plans

Bellshill Athletic have announced plans to return to playing their home matches in the town from the start of next season.

Athletic are currently in their fourth season of groundsharing with Vale of Clyde at Fullarton Park, but have long been eager for a return to Bellshill.

Athletic is a member of the Active Bellshill Community (ABC) group which is aiming to redevelop the Bellshill Academy playing fields on Campbell Street.

However, it is likely to be the 2017 season before it will be ready so in the meantime the club are to make use of Rockburn Park near Hattonrigg Road which has been lying unused for some time.

Athletic chairman Paul Fox said: “The ABC group is in the process of dealing with the Academy park and are looking to put a multi-sport complex in there.

“We’ve been working on that for two years while continuing our talks with the council, which have been going on for seven years, and Rockburn Park has come up in discussions as a temporary base to bring Bellshill Athletic back to the town, otherwise we were folding.

“Rockburn Park hasn’t been used for 16/18 months and the deal is that we will upgrade the facilities to bring it up to the standard we need to play at.

“We have been having discussions about it and have the support of the local councillors, it doesn’t detract from the Academy plan and talks are ongoing with funders about that, but it won’t be ready for 18 months to two years.

“SJFA have been out to look at Rockburn Park and North Lanarkshire Leisure are all for it, it had been in our minds before but just wasn’t available at that time.

“We are thankful to Vale to Clyde, but it wasn’t Bellshill and the community couldn’t get behind the club, with it being back in the town now they can.

“We have the opportunity to keep the club going, but we need help as it will be a DIY job so we are sending out an SOS to renovate the place up to the standards we require.”

Ian Murdoch, business development director at North Lanarkshire Leisure, added: “We are currently working with Bellshill Athletic in an attempt to come to a short term solution with regards to a location to train and play matches.

“We’re in the early stages of trying to assist the club playing football back in the town, as we have done previously.”