Craigroyston FC call for greater protection from antisocial behaviour and vandalism
Craigroyston Football Club is pleading with Edinburgh City Council to try to find a permanent solution for securing their ground.
The semi-professional club who play out of St Mark’s Park in North Edinburgh has been targeted over a period of years by antisocial behaviour and vandalism.
The latest acts of vandalism include the perimeter fence being pulled down at the side of the enclosure; smashed glass every two days around the dug out area; nets for the football goals destroyed and messages spray painted throughout the enclosure.
Craigroyston FC hopes that the Council and other local representatives can come together and help them secure the pitch by installing a new fence around the enclosure.
If the acts of antisocial behaviour continue then the club fear they could be kicked out of the East of Scotland Football League as it is a requirement to have a securely enclosed pitch.
Darren Affleck, chairman for Craigroyston said: “There is absolutely zero respect from the people committing these acts and we are having to constantly put our hands in our pockets to try and rectify things that keep being damaged.
“Ideally we would want a new fence and the park enclosed properly but I’m not sure what the actual status of it is because some locals say it’s a public park for all and I believe that’s maybe part of the problem with fences being ripped down.
“The Council did put the fence up originally when we were moved from City Park and rehomed at St Marks but since then there’s been no sign at all of the Council ever coming to repair it or replace it which it so desperately needs.
“We are in the process of adding a whole new youth section to the club which currently only has a senior team but we’ve agreed a four year plan to have a team at every age group all the way to the first team - creating a pathway for local players. We also hope to launch a new women's team so it is imperative the pitch is secure.”
The club say they are struggling to wrap their heads around the problem as the gate is normally left open for users to access the park - they are simply asking for people to clean up after themselves and to stop accessing the enclosure through tearing down the fence.
Ben Macpherson, a local SNP representative, said: “Vandalism of Craigroyston F.C.’s home pitch at St. Mark’s Park is totally unacceptable.
“Local football clubs need to be able to develop their facilities without the risk and cost of them being senselessly spoiled or damaged. I am committed to continuing to work with the club, the Council and other relevant authorities to try to better secure the playing field area, potentially with more robust fencing.”
A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “The vandalism to the football ground/St Marks Park is extremely disappointing. It is a real shame that it is the many responsible users who have to suffer disruption while the damage is rectified. We will continue to work with the club on ways to tackle this. And encourage anyone with information to contact the Police.”