Jenny Marra :  Why the National Football Academy Should Come to Dundee

31 August 2012

Dundee needs more sports facilities.

I was speaking to a Dundee Dad recently who said that his son’s team train in Lochee Park on the pitch nearest the street lights because they can’t get a floodlit training ground.

When it rains, the training is called off.

For most of the year that kids are out of school, the evenings in Scotland are cold and dark.

We have to accept this and build sports facilities in Scotland where kids can spend their evenings warm and dry, playing sport.

It keeps them healthy, fit, and builds their confidence.

That’s why I launched a campaign last year to bring the National Football Academy to Dundee.

The SNP promised in their manifesto to build a National Football Academy that would be a training facility for some of our top players and other athletes - a new sports facility for the nation.

So why not in Dundee?

Glasgow is getting big sports investment because they are hosting the Commonwealth Games.

National facilities tend to be in the central belt, but actually Dundee is more central for folk travelling from Aberdeen and the Highlands and is an easy journey from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

This is a project separate from the Commonwealth Games so it’s only fair that the East Coast and Dundee should be considered for the Academy investment.

Dundee is the only major city in Scotland without a UEFA standard indoor football pitch.

The Football Academy would bring this. Dundee also has more people who play football per head of population than any other of the 32 councils in Scotland.

We are a proud footballing city.

Aside from the Sport, the Football Academy is exactly the kind of building project that we need in Dundee at the moment.

The Waterfront development is fantastic but we need lots of new buildings and facilities to get our economy moving and get our people back to work.

Dundee has the worst unemployment per head of any city in Scotland at the moment, even worse than Glasgow.

The Sports Minister Shona Robison would be doing a great service to her home city if she could bring the National Football Academy home to Dundee.

The lasting legacy from the Olympics is that sport can inspire, it can motivate, it can let our young people reach heights of success and fulfilment that dreams are made of.

We are a nation of sports lovers.

The challenge is to become a nation of sportspeople.

It binds families together, it gives purpose and vision, it lets our young people achieve in the healthiest way.

I could list a hundred reasons why the National Football Academy should come to Dundee.

But the same vision keeps coming back to me and keeps this campaign alive.

I have a vision of local boys and girls heading into the National Football Academy here in Dundee for an after-school training session and bumping into some of their heroes who have spent the day training in Dundee; the Scotland squad, Commonwealth Games hopefuls, role models for their young sporting dreams.

5,000 Dundonians have signed the campaign to bring the National Football Academy to Dundee.

They are ambitious for our city and want Dundee to be home to the new national sports academy.

Why not here, why not now, and why not Dundee?


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