We need a new home or risk our club sinking
Sons fear staying put could lead to a‘cycle of decline’
Officials at Dumbarton FC insist they need a new stadium if they are to avoid a “cycle of decline” from which they may never recover.
The Sons issued the warning in a letter to planners in support of a bid to build a new 4,000 seater stadium at Young’s Farm between the town and Renton.
They also suggested the plan was the best chance they have of ever returning to the highest level of Scottish football.
The club last competed in the top flight in the old first division in 1985 and are the only existing Scottish league champions never to have competed in the Scottish Premier League.
They have written to West Dunbartonshire Council in support of the controversial bid to build the stadium and create new community sport facilities – the application was originally submitted in May last year.
The board’s letter states: “Significant levels of spending on repair and renewal of our existing facilities over the next five years would mean less finance available for the football team, which would likely reduce performance with the knock-on effect of decreasing fan attendance and associated match-day revenue.
“If Dumbarton remain at Castle Road there is a serious risk of entering a cycle of decline which would be very difficult to reverse.”
The letter adds: “The Board of Dumbarton FC has a vision of a successful, financially viable football club playing at the highest viable and sustainable level within Scottish football and contributing as a reliable partner to the economic and social well-being of its community.
“In order to achieve this vision, a larger stadium that has a greater range and quality of in-stadium facilities for the use of both the teams, supporters, businesses and the community is required.
“As a result of work done since the last LDP review process, the club aspires to a stadium which has the potential to accommodate up to 4,000 spectators, along with relevant stadium related infrastructure and facilities.
“If this capacity and necessary promotions can be achieved the team would be eligible to play in the Scottish Premier League.
“Unfortunately, it is not possible to achieve this vision at our current location, and it has become necessary to relocate the club from its present location to develop a new stadium.”
The plan by the applicant, Dumbarton Community Football, is to fund the creation of the potential new £13.5 million facility with a 200 home residential development.
The club followed up that letter with a series of public meetings and a written guarantee to fans in a bid to get them behind the move.
The owners of Dumbarton Football Club, a group of investors known as Brabco, made six pledges to the club’s fans through the Sonstrust, a registered cooperative, ahead of a vote on whether the trust should give formal support to the planning application for a new stadium development at Young’s farm.
It came after a three-hour meeting of trust representatives with Brabco director Chris Stainton last Friday, and a Q&A session at the club’s stadium ahead of Dumbarton’s game against Dunfermline on Saturday.
The assurances include agreeing to no ground share during relocation process and the Trusts ongoing representation on the club’s board.
But not everyone agrees and at the end of 2017 another community council submitted its formal objection.
Bonhill and Dalmanoch Community Council objected in a seven page letter to planners – backing up a similar objection from Silverton and Overtoun Community Council.
Their letter concludes: “In our opinion, the environmental and social costs of this development far outweigh any potential economic benefits.”
The Rock Dumbarton FCs current stadium in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock
Youngs Farm Plans show the proposals for the new ground