Recent circumstances have meant that Forres and Nairn Welfare League champions Jackos have had to seek grounds out with Nairn to fulfil their fixture commitments in the winter league. Today for example they were due to play a home game against a Portsoy side at a Forres ground. Team manager Craig Walker told the Gurn that another local side Uncle Bob’s were in the same position too.
Craig is despondent about the availability of pitches in Nairn and feels that grass roots football is badly served by the present facilities we have in the town. He cites the lack of working showers or even toilets at the Riverside. Poor changing facilities aside that pitch is presently unplayable due to damage done by vehicles that have driven on the park although Craig tells us that the Council are taking steps to have the ground ready for the summer league games.
Jackos have the use of the Rec at Auldearn but with the recent bad weather preparing that ground has become impossible he tells us. The community facilities at the Academy are proving difficult to access according to Craig and he is seeking help from local councillors to negotiate his way through the bureaucracy to enable easier access to these community facilities.
Saints are also unable to help as their ground at the Showfield also gets heavily used as it doubles up as a venue for Nairn County youth sides.
|Jackos proud champions of the Forres and District Welfare League last season
Craig is calling for more pitches to be available in Nairn to enable winter and summer football for local sides at welfare league level and to prevent too much wear and tear on the heavily used riverside pitch when it is playable again. He says it costs in travel and pitch fees to play home games out of town and he feels something needs to be done quickly to ensure a healthy future for grass roots soccer in Nairn. He has contacted local councillors for help and so far Liz MacDonald and Stephen Fuller have agreed to a meeting to see what they can do to help.
Stephen Fuller told the Gurn: “It's important to encourage activities like this locally. We will be meeting with the Jackos team to discuss the issues surrounding pitches in Nairn and look into what can be done to resolve them.”
Here’s hoping a solution can be found, there’s been a lot of talk recently about the pyramid system from the Highland League all the way up to the top but grass roots football is where it all begins and it deserves some attention from the authorities too. Perhaps a couple of pitches on the Sandown Lands might be possible or even reinstating the former pitch on the Links?