East Kilbride Fc Aim For The Big Time

Last updated : 17 May 2010 By Lord Palmerston

John Hartson is backing East Kilbride FC, who aim to be in the professional ranks in five years time.

The former Celtic striker is honorary president of the new club, which has been formed by the merging of Jackton Boys Club and Stewartfield.

"It's become more of a reality now rather than a dream," said Hartson.

"They've got the infrastructure up and running. they've got the academy and funds are in place. I feel very humble to be asked to be honorary president."

The club is currently structured to nurture and develop footballers from the age of five to 19.

"East Kilbride is a massive catchment area and I wish them well in what they're trying to achieve and if I can help along the way I will because those in charge are very good friends of mine," added Hartson, who won 51 caps for Wales.

The club's director of football is Iain King, the head of sport at the Scottish Sun.

"We formed a youth football team about three years ago, myself and local construction guy James Kean, who is putting the finance behind this project," said King, who is also the coach of Jackton BC Under-14 side.

"We caught the bug, we started talking with Ally McCoist, John Hartson and other people about the fact that East Kilbride is such a major town and doesn't have a professional football team.

"The dream grew from that and we are now starting to build a training academy which costs £1.2m at Calderglen Country Park and we have land on the outskirts of town, which is planned for a stadium. Our aim is to be a professional club within five years."

Prominent local charity East Kilbride Community Trust, of which the Rangers assistant manager McCoist is a key member, will help finance the training complex.