Irvine Amateur Football Club manager Keith Graham says it was a blessing in disguise that they left Irvine Community Sports Club after announcing their new partnership with Kilwinning Football Academy (KFA).

The amateur side revealed that they were asked to leave the sports club at the start of June, with the sports club saying that they could use their facilities until the end of July.

After that date they planned to hand over the area to Irvine Ladies Hockey Club to use as their new home.

The arrangement left Irvine Amateurs without a home to play matches or train on ahead of the return of amateur football next weekend.

However, Graham reveals not long after our publication shone light on this issue with a story on the matter, they quickly found a new home.

He said: “A couple of days after the story was published, we were contacted through a mutual friend of mine who is one of the football coaches at one of the kid’s teams at KFA.

“They were very keen to be affiliated with us because at the moment they have a full pathway from mini kickers right up to senior women’s football.

“But on the male side of things they only had a pathway from mini kickers to 2006’s, so they wanted to fill that gap at the top with a senior men’s team.

“KFA have just purchased an asset transfer of Almswall Park, in Kilwinning, so we will now play and train their at the Astro.

“The whole situation has been a blessing in disguise when we look back at it now because ultimately our goal is to keep the club running for years and years to


“So by joining an academy that are as well established as they are it gives us a conveyor belt of players coming through the age groups and hopefully progressing onto amateur, which keeps our team going for many years to come. “

Irvine Amateurs do not have long to wait to make their competitive debut at Almswall Park as amateur football returns after more than a year out this weekend.

In the last season of the amateurs Irvine were undefeated in Ayrshire Amateurs Division One and looking in good shape for promotion to the Premier Division.

However when lockdown hit, the league called the season null and void. Despite their set back Graham says the promotion goal is still the same this season.

“We are away to title challengers, West Kilbride, on the first game of the season and I expect that it will be a tough game.

“The last time we all played it was ourselves , West Kilbride and Crosshouse that were battling it out for the title.

“We will fight it out to the end to win the league but at the very least our target is promotion.”