PARK FOR SALE

Firs Park, former home of East Stirlingshire FC. Pic by John Devlin
Firs Park, former home of East Stirlingshire FC. Pic by John Devlin
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East Stirlingshire football club is poised to sell its historic home, Firs Park.

Members will meet later this month to discuss the sale of the pitch and stand to former club chairman Alan Mackin who has tabled a £100,000 offer for the town centre land.

That would prompt a cash injection of £50,000 at the end of next month which is vital to keep the club afloat throughout season 2011/12.

A further £50,000 would be paid to the club if Mr Mackin - who is still a Shire director - re-sold the land, which is being mooted for residential use.

The delapidated ground is currently out of use with the Shire playing home matches at Ochilview, in a ground-share agreement with Stenhousemuir.

A pre-planning application exhibition investigating the residential plans takes place today (Thursday).

Re-development of Firs Park has been a long-held aim of the club, but planning permission for building work has been a regular stumbling block, with land designated in the local plan for non-food retail or leisure use.

A sale now would give the club a vital cash boost and club secretary Tadek Kopszywa told Heraldsport: “The proposal is a potential way forward for the club, facilitating income at a welcome time - if approved.

“The club’s board has been looking, for a number of months, for a cash injection to pay off debts and see the club right and a number of options were investigated and this was the only one that met with unanimity.”

Under the arrangement of the club, shareholders are split. One set have shares in the club itself and B shareholders net a dividend from the sale of the Firs Park which was built by fans and has been home to The Shire since 1920.

Mr Kopszywa added: “Although it is the loss of the club’s main asset the board knew we would lose it at some point, and had reached that point of acceptance. This is a crucial juncture for the club and is a potential way of moving forward.”

The meeting of club members to decide on the sale will be held on Monday, July 18 at 7 p.m. in the Park Hotel, Arnot Hill.

Another meeting, to go over potential planning permission, is being held today (Thursday) between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Falkirk Harriers’ athletics clubhouse on Thornhill Road.