A period of title wins for Forgewood Amateur Boxing Club members forms a paradox with the current uncertainty over where the Motherwell club is to be based.
No fewer than 10 of Forgewood’s fighters have won top honours in 2019, at the same time as the club faces being moved away from its long time base in Mabel Street.
Forgewood ABC head coach Bert McShane (72) told the Times and Speaker: “It is a brilliant crop of fighters we have at the club at the moment.
“And I think it will be even better next year.
“The only problem we have got is finding out when North Lanarkshire Council are going to rehouse us.
“We are waiting on them coming back to us to see what they are going to do.
“We have been in Mabel Street for 20-odd years but the council are going to demolish the premises and put houses in there, something we think is going to happen next year.
“They are supposed to be re-allocating us in Range Road.
“We would rather stay where we are but I don’t think that’s in the council’s plans.
“It is very unsettling. We speak to people in the street and tell them their club is shutting down.”
Responding, Pamela Humphries, Head of Planning & Regeneration with North Lanarkshire Council said: “The Forgewood Amateur Boxing Club currently operates from a porta-cabin situated off Mabel Street in Motherwell.
“This council owned site has now been identified for the development of 20 new council homes as part of our plans to provide 5,000 new affordable homes across North Lanarkshire within accessible locations.
“We have been working with the boxing club to find a suitable alternative location for their premises and an area at Woodside Street has now been identified.
“To support this development, we have submitted a Stage 1 Capital Grant Funding application to the Scottish Government which would enable us to take forward the construction of a new community hub. This hub would not only accommodate the boxing club, but other facilities for the local community to use.”
The council has also been helping the club apply for other forms of external funding to help them with relocation.
Forgewood fighters have been excelling in the ring.
Darren Johnstone (19), of Muirhouse, won the Scottish and British men’s 75kg Championship titles, while Forgewood clubmate Vicky Glover (20), of Cambuslang, won a British women’s 57kg crown and also took a European bronze medal.
Among other senior Forgewood fighters, Muirhouse’s Matthew Middleton and John Stevenson of Newarthill scooped Western District titles at 60kg and 69kg respectively.
At youth level, their 16-year-old clubmate Mark Johnstone (Darren’s brother) landed the 64kg Scottish crown.
And no fewer than five Forgewood juniors prevailed at big events held earlier this year.
Fighting at 46kg, Andrew Sneddon won Scottish and Western District titles, while Uddingston Grammar pupil Lloyd Delaney did likewise in the 34kg class.
Jerviston’s Devon Montgomery Smith (11), a Taylor High School pupil, scooped Western District and Scottish Schoolboy 47kg titles.
Clubmate Maddison Clarkson (15), of Livingston, triumphed at Scottish and British level in the girls 45½kg class.
And fellow junior Nial Burke (15), an Our Ladies High School pupil, was the victor in the Western District 57kg competition.
There has clearly been a phenomenal set of performances from Forgewood ABC fighters this year.
With Bert predicting even greater levels of glory for the local club’s fighters next year, 2020 promises to be an even more spectacular run of scintillating performances from his members.