Model supporter Dave’s mini Showgrounds big hit online with Bannsiders’ faithful
A devoted Coleraine FC supporter has recreated his team’s home ground in miniature using the classic football game Subbuteo.
Dave Reed spent lockdown crafting his 3D masterpiece of The Showgrounds, which opened in 1907.
It has been officially unveiled in time for The Bannsiders’ home ‘derby’ with Ballymena United on Saturday.
Due to the pandemic, supporters of Irish League teams have been unable to attend matches for most of the past 18 months.
Dave, a technology, design and engineering technician at Dalriada School in Ballymoney, stumbled on the idea to take on his Subbuteo project after finding a community page on Facebook.
“They are all self-builders on there, they build their own stadiums and things like that,” he explained.
“I was into Subbuteo and got my kids into it. I had it up in the attic so decided to get it down. I decided to build a stadium, and being a Coleraine fan it was as good as any place to start.”
The mini stadium, first featured on the club’s website, used materials such as MDF, corrugated card and welding rods to recreate its life-size counterpart in painstaking detail over a period of six months.
“It’s still not finished now. There’s still plenty more I could do to it,” Dave added.
“I still haven’t made the floodlights and things like that.
“I also tried to keep it as close as scale as I could.
“I took pictures of The Showgrounds to help me as part of the process.”
He said one of his favourite elements of the build is the Jack Doherty Stand, named in honour after the club’s legendary chairman who, in 1961, persuaded the equally legendary Bertie Peacock to sign for the club after leaving Celtic.
“It was also the trickiest part to do, as the roof was latticed together. It’s 5mm wooden square and I had to cut it to shape and stick it together,” said Dave.
“The social club also looks quite good, and the Railway End. Again, there’s still work I could do to that.”
A video clip of the stadium, which includes tiny supporters, was put online and the reaction from fellow supporters has been fantastic, according to Dave, who relocated to Coleraine from Devon three decades ago.
“It’s been amazing. I think on Twitter it’s something like 14,000 views. It has over 600 ‘likes’ on the Coleraine webpage and comments galore,” he explained.
“The Subbuteo Stadium Community on Facebook are all world-wide members and I got over 230 ‘likes’ and comments from them. So it’s gone down quite well.”
In June the club unveiled plans for a new £7m stadium and training ground to be completed over the next few years.
Phase one of the project was the installation of a 4G pitch, which was started during the summer.
Dave revealed he aims to get the blueprints for the revamp and will “take it from there”.
“The club’s trying to get funding for that and it’s going well at the moment. So I’ll get a copy of the plans and build a new one,” he said.
However, as a Manchester United fan to boot, he has no plans to recreate Old Trafford in miniature.
“I’m a season ticket holder at Manchester Utd too, and Old Trafford is too big and complex, and it’s got no character either compared to a local, lower division ground,” he said.
“There’s not parts of it that you think that look great. League grounds have more appeal than the bigger grounds.”