A long established youth football club had the worst possible start to their new season when they discovered they no longer had a place to play and train.
Grangemouth’s Syngenta Juveniles FC had to scramble to make alternative arrangements after it was made clear they were no longer welcome at Little Kerse, in Grange Road, Polmont – where they had been training and playing for the last ten years.
Galaxy Sports Little Kerse and Syngenta Juveniles have parted ways – just two years after they signed an agreement that would have seen them working together to 2040 and beyond.
Stephen Barr, Galaxy Sports Little Kerse managing director, called it a relationship which had “broken down completely” due to Syngenta Juveniles not being “willing to respect” what Little Kerse was trying to achieve.
Syngenta Juveniles came to Little Kerse when they lost their training pitches at Earls Gate Social Club back in 2008 and the site subsequently became an Asda distribution depot.
A Syngenta Juveniles spokesman said: “We had been at Little Kerse for 11 years and had been their biggest customer, as well as their partner for nine-and-a-half of those years. We never stepped out of line with Little Kerse at any time, our fees were always paid in advance. The only complaint we had was the time we left plastic bottles lying on the grass.
“Little Kerse was our home – we made it our home.”
According to Syngenta Juveniles, the relationship began to sour when a former Syngenta board member joined forces with Galaxy Sports Little Kerse and helped create LK Galaxy FC.
“That was a catalyst for things changing,” said the Syngenta Juveniles spokesman. “We had a board meeting with Little Kerse and they said they wanted to review the 25-year agreement.”
Syngenta Juveniles claim Little Kerse wanted to charge them the same amount of money but take away some of the access to pitches they currently enjoyed, to free the facilities up for the new LK Galaxy FC teams.
The Syngenta Juveniles spokesman said: “We said we were happy with the deal they way it is.”
The 25-year agreement reportedly came to an abrupt end during what turned out to be Syngenta Juveniles’ last training session at Little Kerse at the end of July.
“They told us we were finished at Little Kerse and any players or coaches would be kicked out of the facility if they showed up from now on. The reason they gave was we had breached a clause in the contract which had materially damaged the reputation of Little Kerse Leisure, but we had no notification of any such breach.”
Back in July 2017, Mr Barr said he was “delighted” with the partnership deal between Little Kerse.
This week he said: “It’s a relationship that has broken down completely. They weren’t willing to respect what we wanted to do here as a facility – respect the investment and the commitment we made.
“Their executive committee wasn’t willing to work with us. We’ve been working hard for 11 years to build something for the benefit of the whole community – I have got to do what’s right for my business.
“We really need people who are willing to work to make things better for everyone and we could not get that from senior people at that club. None of the people who signed the agreement in 2017 are with the club.”
The situation is now in the hands of legal teams, but over 200 Syngenta Juveniles youngsters, including 30 with cerebral palsy, were still left without a place to play with the season just about to begin.
Thankfully some good has come out of a bad situation with Syngenta Juveniles securing the grass pitches at Inchyra Park through Central Football Academy. They have also managed to secure pitches at Falkirk FC, who have been “really helpful” according to the club.