Bayview to build for the future

IS New Bayview set to become the next Nou Camp?

It's not often comparisons can be drawn between Methil's East Fife FC and Catalan giants Barcelona but that could be about to change following the launch of an ambitious community sports project.

At an open day on Saturday, the club revealed plans to create a 5million indoor sports complex at the ground which it hopes will become a centre of excellence for community activity in Fife.

During their early years, Barcelona launched similar community-minded projects which ultimately gave it the platform to attract, and keep, the best in local talent at the club.

The project will be steered by the East Fife Community Sports Club and has already won the support of MP Lindsay Roy, MSP Tricia Marwick and former Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish.

Fifers associate director Harry Blyth, who will chair the working group which is behind the community sports club, said: "The facility will be available to the whole community to use seven days a week and East Fife will also get the benefit of having a fantastic playing surface for our youth and senior sides during the winter."

Funding applications and a business plan are currently being organised by the steering group which has also attracted the expertise of local architect Bob Watt.

Mr Watt said his plans as part of the "exciting project" will include an artificial playing surface, changing rooms, gymnasium and training facilities which will be available for other sports.

MSP Tricia Marwick said comparisons between what East Fife is trying to achieve now and the way Barcelona set themselves up were "not flying too high".

She said: "When it began Barcelona invested in its community and it's not flying too high to say that the same thing could happen in the Levenmouth area with the jobs and new homes we're expecting.

"There's a real confidence in the Methil and Leven areas and we need to offer people something like this."

Eugene Clarke, the East Fife Supporters Trust representative on the club board, also drew comparisons between what the Fifers are trying to achieve with Barcelona.

He said: "In the 1920s Barcelona started involving itself in the community and built the club up that way.

"Now the ground is the centre of the community and it's more than just a football club to them.

"Football clubs like East Fife are one of the few things left that communities can identify with."