Newtown Park has become the official home for one of Scotland’s national football teams in a major coup for the town of Bo’ness.
The stadium has been chosen as the national development centre for the Scottish Cerebral Palsy team who will play home games there as well as holding regular training sessions.
And, hand in hand with that announcement, an open invitation has been issued to players who have cerebral palsy/stroke/acquired brain injuries to try out for the national team at a special event being held at Newtown Park a week on Sunday (November 13).
These exciting developments have been welcomed by the Newtown Park Association (NPA) and they come on the back of an amazing performance by the Scottish CP team in the Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) World Championships.
Scotland made it all the way to the final of the tournament, held in Olbia in Sardinia, only to lose 3-2 to Colombia.
“We chose Newton Park as we wanted to have access to a high-quality pitch, and to a venue where our national team could call home,” said Greig Taylor, manager of the Scottish CP team.
“It’s also a place that’s close to my heart as I’m from Bo’ness myself.
“Bringing a national team/national development centre to Bo’ness is fantastic for everyone associated with NPA and the town itself.
“We want to make NPA the home of cerebral palsy football in Scotland. By creating a national development centre we will create three strands – opportunities for participation players, development squads and international A squad."
Greig added that they plan to launch a women’s section, again furthering opportunities.
“We will hopefully keep gaining momentum, raising the awareness and have more people with cerebral palsy/ stroke/acquired brain injury playing football."
Newtown Park has already hosted one international , with the CP team hosting the ‘auld enemy’ England in June in a friendly challenge.
“Our plan would be to host any future home internationals at Newtown Park, whether that be friendlies or small invitational tournaments," added Greig. "Bringing international football to Bo’ness would be fantastic.”
The NPA have welcomed the move as it underlines their commitment to making Newtown Park accessible across the whole community.
"We are delighted that the Scottish National Cerebral Palsy Team have chosen to use Newtown Park as their new home base," said George Sansom, one of the NPA trustees.
"Greig Taylor had approached us earlier this year to request booking time for the team's regular training sessions, a request we were happy to grant.
"The players and the management team found the facilities ideal for their requirements, so much so they arranged to use Newtown Park for a tournament involving their English counterparts.
"With the team heading to Sardinia for their World Championships late in September, the NPA were able to assist their preparations by providing additional slots for training.
“On their return from the World Championships, Greig outlined the plans for the future of the team, his desire to involve more participants – both adults and children – and the NPA happily agreed to our facility being their home and being the National Cerebral Palsy Football Development Centre.”
The tryout event at Newtown Park on November 13 is open to male and female players of from the age of 10 upwards. The activities begin at noon with an information session, followed by an on-pitch activities and then the chance to watch the current national squad training and playing a match.
The Scottish CP team’s development programme is being run in partnership with the Tartan Army Children’s Charity. It is designed to prepare young players from the age of 10 for the transition to the national team.
Scotland put on a battling display in the group stages of the World Championships, winning all three games against Italy (6-0), South Korea (7-0) and Chile (7-2) to progress to the semi-final stages. They defeated Japan 5-1 to book their place in the final.
Colombia proved much harder opposition and Scotland found themselves 3-0 down early in the second half; despite managing to pull two goals back, they couldn’t find an equaliser and Colombia were crowned champions.