Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club’s Netherdale Stand welcomed back fans for the first time in nearly four years on Saturday following the completion of extensive refurbishment works to the category-A listed building.
Fans and former players in attendence for stand reopening
Borders footballing legend and former Hibs, Celtic, Monaco, Fulham and Everton player John Collins acted as Master of Ceremonies for the occasion while Ross Buchan Chairman of GFRFC Community Trust officially reopened the renovated Stand shortly before Gala Fairydean played Rangers B in their Lowland League fixture.
500 fans were in attendance, including a number of notable former players of both Gala Rovers and Gala Fairydean, as Gala Fairydean ran out winners with a 2-1 victory over the League leaders.
Before Saturday the Stand had been closed since winter 2018 due to significant public health and safety concerns associated with spalling concrete.
What renovations have been made on the Netherdale Stand
Repair works began in February of this year and included renovations to the stand itself including reinforcement protection works and concrete repairs, restoration of some of the Stand’s original features, improvements to the drainage and the installation of a water membrane to the roof and turnstiles and general conservation repairs.
The refurbishment of the iconic Peter Womersley designed stand has been made possible through the cooperation of multiple partners involved in the project including ourselves, Historic Environment Scotland, Fallago Environmental Fund, Live Borders, Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club, Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club Community Trust.
Earlier this year, various improvements were also made to the Netherdale sports complex with the replacement of two artificial 3G sports pitches and the installation of a brand new floodlight system.
Councillor Euan Jardine, Leader of Scottish Borders Council:
Today marks the end of a long but extremely worthwhile process over the last four years returning the Netherdale Stand to its former glory. What a satisfying sight it has been seeing football fans back filling the iconic Stand and creating such an electric atmosphere.
“The extensive refurbishments that have been made have brought the unique architecture of the venue back to life and secured its long-term future.
“Make no doubt, this would not have been possible without the close collaboration of a variety of partners including SBC, Live Borders and the Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club Community Trust to raise the necessary funding to see the project through and restore an iconic Galashiels Landmark.”
Ewan Jackson , CEO, Live Borders:
“We are delighted that fans can return to the iconic Netherdale Stand, and look forward to continuing to work with all the partners who have come together to help this happen.”
Ross Buchan, Chairman of Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust, speaking on behalf of the Gala Fairydean Rovers Family, the Football Club and the Community Trust, said:
“It was great to have the opportunity to welcome supporters to Netherdale and to our game against Rangers B on Saturday (29th October 2022). A fitting occasion on which to open the Stand following the successful completion of the Stand Repair Project.
“The Stand Repair Project has been a five-year journey starting exactly 5 Years ago in October 2017.
“The Project to repair the ‘A’ Listed Stand has provided an opportunity to improve the 3G Arena facility for the Communities in the Borders and for those with a wider national and international interest in the Stand.
“This successful project has involved many groups and individuals working in partnership. Saturday was the ideal occasion to acknowledge and thank Funders, Scottish Borders Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Fallago Environment Fund for the financial support, the Project Design Team, led by Structural Engineer Steve Wood of David Narro Associates, SBC’s Project Management Team, Councillors Parker and Jardine, Community Development Organisation, The Bridge, GFRFC Chairman Ryan Cass and his Board and Contractor CRL (Concrete Repair Limited) led by Tony Parsons for making the project such a tremendous success.
“It was also an ideal opportunity to acknowledge the Gala Fairydean Treasurer, Jimmy Walker, who was at the centre of raising the original funding for the construction of the Stand in 1964 and through his friendship with Architect Peter Womersley was able to engage the designer on the conception and construction of the Stand.”
Some further finishing works will be taking place at the site of the Stand over the course of the next few weeks and is due to be completed by the end of November.
An event will be organised for later in the year bringing together those that were responsible for funding the Stand renovation project and 3G pitch replacement and Floodlight Installation project.