Belfast Telegraph

Ambitious Crusaders awaiting a decision on Seaview developments

By Graham Luney

Crusaders are waiting on the green light to construct a new stand at Seaview as well as a training complex at Three Mile Water Playing Fields.

The planned training facilities have been approved by Newtownabbey Borough Council but they require planning permission from the Department of Environment and funding from the next round of grant allocations from DCAL (Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure). Crusaders are also hoping to unveil a new stand on the south side of the ground but that work also needs funding to progress.

Club members are aware of the exciting plans which should ensure the north-Belfast club remain on course to attract more fans through the turnstiles.

The Seaview plans include a new 1,352 seat stand, new changing facilities, the upgrade of existing floodlighting, spectator deck, 6,000 sq ft community facilities, new turnstiles and better car parking.

Clubs from the Premiership through to Championship 2 have requested financial assistance for ground improvements and Crusaders are hopeful of a positive outcome.

The Shore Road club considered leaving their Seaview home for a new stadium in the north of the city since members voted in favour of the move back in 2007 but it has proved to be a frustrating search.

Larne are also confident they will be given the green light to transform Inver Park.

Artificial pitches, such as the one at Seaview which has boosted revenue streams at Crusaders, have proved popular with clubs. Lisburn Distillery, Warrenpoint Town and Tobermore United are hoping to go down this route.

On the pitch, Stephen Baxter's side are flying,currently second in the Danske Bank Premiership and at the weekend their Under-16 team became all-Ireland champions for their age group when they defeated St Kevins on penalties after a scoreless draw in Dundalk.

The fantastic victory underlines the progress being made by the Crusaders Academy in recent years.

Tickets are also on sale for Chris Morrow's Testimonial Dinner in Corrs Corner Hotel in Newtownabbey on Saturday, February 14 at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £35 each or a table of 10 can be bought for £325. Guest speakers include David Jeffrey, football correspondent Stephen Looney and the MC for the evening is Jackie Fullerton.

Tickets are available from Phil Melville on 079 6745 9738.

Coleraine have confirmed that midfielder Paul Owens will be leaving the club to take over the reins at his home town club, Limavady United.

The wide man, who also played for Oran Kearney when he was Roesiders boss, will be taking on the role in a player/manager capacity.

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