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Public Consultation: Dixon Park

Ballyclare Comrades has recently celebrated 100 years as part of the Ballyclare Community and Dixon Park, in the centre of town, has been our home since 1936. The club purchased the grounds in 1967. The last major development at Dixon Park was in 2009/10 when the club undertook a project to take the facilities up to Premiership standard. It is a totally enclosed facility with a 2.8m perimeter wall, 8 camera CCTV system, full outdoor PA system, controlled entrances, grass pitch and is licensed by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to accommodate 2398 people.

The club commissioned a business plan in 2014 for the provision of an artificial pitch, upgraded floodlighting, new business and community facilities, and a 200 seat grandstand. Planning was approved for the first phase of this development but the anticipated funding mechanism never materialized, due to the collapse of the Executive in 2016. Planning approval was renewed in 2019. The anticipated funding mechanism has since re-emerged but has been a ‘political football’ and has, as yet, not become available for applications. The club have continued to pursue other funding avenues for the original plan but have so far been unsuccessful. Last year the club secured a loan to upgrade the floodlights to a modern LED system.

In the last decade we’ve transformed from a traditional mens’ football team into a community based club, presently with 100+ boys between the ages of 11 and 18, 240+ girls between the ages of 5 and 18, 38+ men over 20 and 25+ women over 18, along with 50+ coaches and support staff. Plans are already in place to bring on board 80+ more boys between the ages of 5 and 10 later this year. The grass pitch is reserved for competitive Championship and Cup football for the senior team in the period mid-July till end of May, and the club have to rent training facilities for the senior team elsewhere. It also means all these young players have to find alternative facilities for training and competition, all over Northern Ireland, every week, The grass pitch is rejuvenated during the other 11/12 weeks, making it unavailable for summer tournaments, fun coaching sessions, community events, etc. The need for an artificial pitch at Dixon Park, with it’s close proximity to schools, parking and public transport, is overwhelming.

Such a facility will have insatiable demand at certain times from Comrades and other football entities within the community, whilst there’ll be other times when demand may be lighter and the facility can accommodate use by other groups. To be truly effective, it is also desirable to replace the existing clubhouse with a new larger, two storey facility which encompasses modern player, referee, business and community infrastructure. Such a facility would provide additional changing rooms, referee rooms, players room, upstairs viewing area, and adaptable rooms for community activities, fitness area, etc. This would enable the club to broaden their community engagement to include sports science, fitness, coaching, psychology, physiotherapy, food nutrition, mental health awareness, disability access, etc., transforming Dixon Park into a community based ‘sports and wellbeing hub’ to service the needs of our growing club, the town centre and the whole community. The two facilities, artificial pitch and clubhouse can be used simultaneously for different activities. Such a facility could be an ideal springboard for the regeneration of Ballyclare Town Centre. We are pleased that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council will help us build a business plan to present to potential funders.

You may be familiar with the Peace Programmes that have been running for 25 years and have funded many projects across our Borough over the years. It is expected that the next round of European funding, known as PEACEPLUS, will be the last. This €1.1bn programme is designed to support peace and prosperity and leave a lasting and tangible legacy across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. Early indications have been that the Antrim and Newtownabbey area will receive in the region of €5.1m to deliver a Local Community Action Plan across the following three investment areas: Local Community Regeneration & Transformation, Thriving & Peaceful Communities and Celebrating Cultures & Diversity

To ensure the Local Community Action Plan delivers projects and initiatives which address the issues and needs of local communities across Antrim and Newtownabbey, we need your input and ideas in this development stage of the plan. Therefore, Council invites you to come along to any of the PEACEPLUS Engagement Sessions being held across the Borough and get involved in the design of the Antrim and Newtownabbey Local Community Plan, so that it will make a positive contribution to peace and reconciliation for generations to come.Share your views at these local DEA sessions or email

Airport DEA                           Crumlin Utd FC, Crumlin                     Wed 25 Jan           2pm & 6pm

Antrim DEA                           Old Courthouse, Antrim                     Thu 2 Feb               2pm & 6pm

Ballyclare DEA                      Town Hall, Ballyclare                           Wed 8 Feb             2pm & 6pm

Dunsilly DEA                         Toome House, Toomebridge              Wed 15 Feb           2pm & 6pm

Glengormley DEA                Lilian Bland Pavilion                            Thu 23 Feb            2pm & 6pm

Macedon DEA                       Valley Leisure Centre                          Wed 1 Mar            2pm & 6pm

Threemilewater DEA           Mossley Mill                                         Wed 8 Mar            2pm & 6pm

Check Council website to confirm dates.

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Three Depart Dixon Park

Ballyclare Comrades FC can confirm Conall Curran, Kyle Beggs & Ricky Purcell have departed the club.

Conall Curran’s loan spell has ended and he is returning to Larne. We would like to thank Larne for facilitating Conall’s loan for the first half of the season. Conall made 16 appearances, scoring 3 goals during his time with The Comrades.

Kyle Beggs will be moving to Ballymacash Rangers. Beggsy made 32 appearances, scoring 7 goals during his time with The Comrades.

Ricky Purcell is moving to Limavady. Ricky made 35 appearances, keeping 6 clean sheets during his time with The Comrades.

Stephen Small: “All three players wished to leave to get more game time and we totally respect their decision. We thank Conall, Kyle & Ricky for their contribution and commitment to the club and wish them all well for the future.”

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Welcome Cillin Gilmour!

Ballyclare Comrades FC is delighted to confirm the signing of Cillin Gilmour. The 24 year old central midfielder joins us from Knockbreda.

Stephen Small 🗣
“Cillin brings technical quality, competitiveness and experience to our squad. We look forward to integrating Cillin into our team as we approach the second half of the season.”

Cillin will wear the number 11 shirt this season and will go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s game against Warrenpoint.

Welcome to Dixon Park Cillin!

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Sponsor Wanted for Match Highlights & Interviews

Ballyclare Comrades FC are pleased to announce a sponsorship opportunity has become available for our matchday highlights & post-match interviews.

With the 2022/23 campaign just underway, we are pleased to offer this sponsorship opportunity for the new season. The advertising elements of this opportunity includes your company logo throughout all of our match highlights & post-match interviews, as well as a clickable link to your company website when posting these videos to our social media accounts.

For more information or to discuss the below opportunities, please email Zoë at

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Club Fantasy Premier League Competition

Are you a wizard at Fantasy Premier League?!

We are running a fundraiser for this year’s FPL comp. It’s £10 entry, with 50% of all entries in the prize pool.

The code to join the league is: 4nn8zi

Pay your entry at club shop by 5 Aug. Alternatively, PayPal to

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SuperCup NI & Ballyclare Comrades 2022

It has been described as the best Youth Football Tournament in Europe and this year, SuperCupNI is extending its footprint to introduce a Girls’ Tournament in July. Sponsored by Fibrus Broadband, the Girls’ Tournament will be played in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area. Ballyclare Comrades will compete in the U13 section with games played on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th July. The U16 section includes teams from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, the US and Canada with games played on Monday 25th, Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th July. Ballyclare Comrades are delighted to host the U16 Final at Dixon Park on Friday 29th July with a 2:00 pm kick off. Comrades fans will also have an interest in the boys’ section with Bobby Higgins and Rhys McGarry having been selected for the Co. Antrim FA squad.
Pictured below are Comrades officials and players at the launch with Stephen Ross, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

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Welcome Stephen Small!

Ballyclare Comrades FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Stephen Small as our new Manager.

Stephen brings a wealth of experience to the club as a UEFA Pro License coach, most recently working as the UEFA Academy Elite Performance Coach. During Stephen’s playing days, he played at the highest level in the country, making over 400 appearances in the Irish Premiership and captained his Cliftonville side in 2002/03, before going on to become assistant player manager at the club.

Stephen will watch his new players for the first time on Saturday as we welcome Dergview to Dixon Park.

We wish Stephen every success at the Comrades.

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Club Statement: Paul Harbinson

Ballyclare Comrades FC can today confirm that manager Paul Harbinson has parted company with the club by mutual consent.

We wish to thank Paul and his staff for all of their tireless work during their time at the club, and wish them every success in the future.

Ballyclare Comrades will look to make an announcement on a new appointment soon.