Dumbarton FC stadium at the Rock. Will it soon be sold?
By Bill Heaney
Dumbarton FC’s football ambitions for the new century appear to be modest since the club plans to develop upmarket housing in a large car park around the Rock Stadium at Castle Road in the East End.
The proposal, which was submitted by Brabco, the majority shareholders who were led by the late Calum Hosie, have been approved by West Dunbartonshire Council.
This has led to some head scratching amongst fans since the development is for five modern villas and 32 flats but part of the land in question is subject to flooding from the River Leven.
And that the security over that land is still owned by the former proprietor, Falkirk businessman Neil Rankine. Rankine was still around when the then MP Lord McFall negotiated cash support from local business concerns, the local council and Scottish Enterprise to establish the Rock stadium on its present site. Rankine’s long-term legal adviser, Helensburgh solicitor Douglas Dalgleish, died just a month ago and was succeeded in that role by his partner, John Steele, who is now chairman of the club.
Also hanging over the whole business is the application that was refused to build a new stadium at Young’s Farm, near the old Phoenix Park, at Dennystown.
And the fact too that there is a committee still extant to administer the so-called “golden share” which was put in place to protect the new stadium land being sold off against the will of the community.
People with an interest in the heritage aspects of the site in relation to the Castle and the benefits the community derives from being a valued part of the community
The Phoenix Park was created at Wee Dublin, which Dennystown was called because of the large Irish immigrant community who lived there, and was named after the city park, where the official residence of the President of the Republic of Ireland is situated, and where the Pope, Saint John Paul II, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass during a visit to Ireland in 1979.
It is being speculated by some Sons’ supporters that the football club now desperately wants to cash in and to sell their present stadium – the Rock at Dumbarton Castle – to a building company.
It was once reported in the media that land was valued at £14 million to a building company.
Turnberry Homes, who have built most of the new houses in the Castlegreen area of Newtown, have been strip sponsors for Sons in the recent past.