National Football Academy : Only fair some investment comes east

24 January 2012

Last May in their election manifesto, the SNP promised a National Football Academy for Scotland. It will be an academy to train our footballers to the highest competitive standards, and improve skills and fitness at all levels of Scottish Football.

In the summer I launched local Labour’s campaign to bring the National Football Academy to Dundee. Dundee is ideally placed at the centre of Scotland for athletes travelling from all parts of the country.

We are a welcoming city.

We are the only major city in Scotland without an indoor football facility.

We have a great reputation for football with two clubs that have enjoyed considerable success over the years, and their fans have a good reputation in Scotland, and internationally.

Indeed, we have none of the down sides of the game.

So much of the Government’s sports spending over the next few years will be allocated to the west of Scotland for the Commonwealth Games, and rightly so.

It is important to the whole country that the Games are successful and have a lasting legacy for communities in Glasgow.

But now that a promise of £50 million for a national project that is separate from the Games is available, I think it is only fair that some sports investment comes over to the East Coast.

And why not Dundee?

Glasgow may be home to Scotland’s national stadium while its world-renowned coaching course take place at Largs.

As an organisational which represents the entire country, basing the centre in the east makes sense.

The east coast of Scotland has a proud footballing history as do both of Dundee’s senior clubs and its many junior, amateur and schools teams.

But this is a move that is about more than history, it is about the future of the national game.

Dundee already has a long history of helping to nurture the next generation of future footballing talent, and now there is a great opportunity for the city to play an even bigger role.

Over 2,000 Dundonians have now signed up to the campaign to lend their voices to the call for Dundee to host the National Football Academy.

Dundee FC has signed up, Liverpool and Scotland star Charlie Adam signed the pledge.

One Saturday morning recently we took our campaign to the Murraygate.

A mum with a buggy stopped me and said that she wanted to add her name to the campaign.

She’d seen the campaign on Facebook.

She said that when her son in his buggy was a bit older, football would be the kind of thing that would keep him off the streets.

We need more facilities in Dundee for so many reasons.

The new V&A will be superb.

But we also need more sports centres, more national centres, more things that will put us on the map, let us stand tall and give all children in Dundee the opportunities we want for their future.

That’s why I’ll continue to campaign for the National Football Academy and more new opportunities for our City.

You can add your voice to Labour’s campaign to bring the National Football Academy to Dundee at  or by calling 01382 202584.


This article was first published in the Dundee "Courier"   ( "Courier" link )

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