CELTIC’S BAND OF GREATER FORTUNE
IT has been a tough few months for Ebac Northern League Division Two club West Allotment Celtic.
A dispute over the cost of hiring their previous home at Whitley Park led them close to the brink of extinction. Their landlords, the Northumberland FA, increased the cost of hiring the facility from £4,500 to £7,500.
That increase was described by the club as “exorbitant” at the time and they set about the task of finding a new home. After months of hard work, negotiation and panic, Druid Park, former home of the now-dissolved Newcastle Blue Star, now hosts West Allotment’s home games.
But club chairman Jim Wilson has revealed just how close they came to folding after almost 90 years of football at West Allotment Celtic.
He said “The basics were there are at Druid Park, but the most important thing from the committee’s point of view was the fact that we had been made very welcome.
“That was a refreshing change from our previous landlords. It was close, very close to going under in fact.
“Had Druid Park not offered us the chance to come here we would have been stuck. We had nothing else on the table, it was that close to going under and being the end of West Allotment Celtic.”
The North Tyneside club has also been through many other changes during a busy summer. Former manager Paul Bennett has returned to the club and has overseen a massive turnover of players.
Only three players remain from last season’s squad, with as many as 17 new faces signed on. That led to a disjointed start to the new campaign, but things are turning around.
A midweek win against Bedlington Terriers made it four wins in a row in all competitions. And Wilson believes that the club can now move on from their difficulties. “It has been a turbulent time,” admitted the Celtic chairman. “Not only do we have a new ground, but we have a new manager and a new team. “All of those things take time to settle but I think we have turned a corner and things are coming together now. We are here for 10 years, we have a 10-year contract with Druid Park but there is a view to staying longer. “We do need a few younger bodies to come in and help the committee as we are all a bit older. But the club’s future is secure for at least ten years and hopefully a lot longer than that. “Next season is our 90th anniversary and we do plan to mark that with something special.”