Jumpers for goalposts in Markinch

Shane Fenton with makeshift goalposts in John Dixon Park. Pic: George McLuskie

Shane Fenton with makeshift goalposts in John Dixon Park. Pic: George McLuskie

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Residents in Markinch are claiming Fife Council has ‘put the boot’ into youngsters wanting to play football in the town’s local park.

Almost a month into the season and there has been widespread criticism that goalposts have not been erected in John Dixon Park following their annual summer removal to accommodate the town’s Highland Games.

Council officers say the move is a cost saving exercise and have hinted the move could be replicated throughout Fife in a bid to balance the budget.

Gazette sports correspondent Shane Fenton said he was dismayed by the authority’s “short-sighted approach” - and said it’s the first time in over 50 years that he can remember the town being left without goal posts.

“Fife Council is showing total disregard and disrespect to the football loving people of Markinch,” said Shane.

“It is clearly not interested in encouraging the youngsters to play football.

“The football pitch is used by all ages, toddlers and their parents, Markinch School, by kids after school, just before the ‘goals’ came down for the Markinch Games, I counted around 30 teenagers on more than one occasion playing ‘bounce games’ on the park.”

Jim Leitch team leader, Fife Council has responded to the public outcry highlighting the existing facilities within the park.

He said: “The area has many facilities within it including a pavilion, multi-use games arena, play park and grass football pitch. The area has goal and basketball pitches marked out and are well used in all weathers by the local community. The Council’s budget means we’re unfortunately in the position that we can’t automatically put up posts on all pitches across Fife. We have to balance use with cost. We’ve not reinstated the goal posts at John Dixon Park as we’ve had no applications from football teams to use the pitch this season. If a request is made then replacement posts will be put up.”

The Council confirmed the goal posts cost £850, plus £150 to install them. But Mr Fenton said the Council’s stance has proved another own goal.

“Since when did you have to book the park for the goalposts to go up?’’ he said. “They go up automatically every year, it’s then up to the organised teams to book the park, the general public shouldn’t have to do it.”