Edinburgh Accies chair attacks ‘greedy old men’ of Grange

The legal battle concerns a 2ft wide piece of land on the edge of the development site on Raeburn Place. Picture: Jon Savage
The legal battle concerns a 2ft wide piece of land on the edge of the development site on Raeburn Place. Picture: Jon Savage

A KEY supporter of the controversial Accies development has launched a blistering attack on the “greedy old men” of the neighbouring club who mounted a legal challenge over a £1 million “ransom strip”.

A judge last week threw out the Grange Club’s bid to force the rebuilding of a wall on the 2ft wide piece of land it says it owns on the edge of the 
development site in Stockbridge.

No doubt the Old Guard will continue to huff and puff to try and justify their follies

Frank Spratt

Now Frank Spratt, executive chairman of the Edinburgh Academical Football Club, has written to supporters about the case in an e-mail headed “Grange’s Waterloo”.

He wrote: “The greed, arrogance and hubris of some members of the Grange have now been fully exposed.”

The £16m development, being led by the Raeburn Place Foundation, includes a rugby pitch and 2500-seat stand alongside bars, shops and other facilities.

In his e-mail Mr Spratt referred to a comment by Grange member Douglas Lowe that the ruling by Lord Boyd would turn out in cricketing terms to be a “googly” and would break the way of the Grange. Mr Spratt said: “Make no mistake, the Grange has been clean bowled, with the middle stump and bails sent flying. No doubt the ‘Old Guard’ members will continue to huff and puff to try and justify their follies but this decision has left them impotent.”

He said the legal case was not a Grange v Accies struggle. “It was the action of a few greedy old men and their acolytes who thought they could exploit the redevelopment of Raeburn Place for significant monetary gain.

“The ‘Old Guard’ with all their pomp and swagger, like those at Waterloo, have failed. However, there are many decent sports men and women playing for the various Grange sports clubs and it would be good to see these people reclaim their club before any further damage is done to its reputation.”

Mr Lowe responded to the e-mail by saying: “The content is incorrect and the tone and language dishonour the noble heritage of a great Edinburgh institution.” And he insisted: “The game is not over.”

Meanwhile the Grange Club is keeping open its option to appeal the ruling and says its legal advisers believe there are good grounds to do so.

Secretary Gordon Tolland said: “Obviously Mr Spratt is entitled to his opinion. His comments, along with those of others, do indicate once again just what an emotive subject this is – particularly in Stockbridge.

“The Grange Club is a non-profit organisation devoted to promoting sport and, for many years, has run extensive coaching programmes for hundreds of junior members. Our club is predominantly run by volunteers, who all give many hours to encouraging various sports, particularly in North Edinburgh.

“The club has invested hugely in the facilities for cricket, hockey, squash and tennis in recent years, and we continue to do so.”

He said if in the end the Grange received any money as a result of the “ransom strip” it would be invested directly into the club’s sporting activities.

And he added: “Every attempt was made to negotiate a sensible compromise with the Foundation, prior to the raising of the court action.”