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7 December 2006
60s grandstand is listed building
By Rob Fairburn

TO THE average football fan, the concrete stand at Gala Fairydean FC looks like... er... a concrete stand.

But the experts at Historic Scotland have just declared it one of the most important buildings in the Borders.

Club bosses admit they were surprised when the stand was given a B listing, which means the "character and setting" of the building must be preserved for "future generations".

And one heritage campaigner in Galashiels described the building as looking like "something out of the former Soviet Union in the 60s".

Tom Douglas, of Borders Heritage at Risk, said: "It makes you really wonder what is going on.

"We lost a very attractive sandstone building - the original textiles college in the Borders - to make way for a Tesco.

"And yet we are pulling out all the stops to preserve this concrete stand which, with all due respect to Gala Fairydean, is not the most pleasing on the eye."

But Dr Deborah Mays, head of listings at the Executive, said: "The stand is a unique building.

"The way that the concrete has been used for visual effect is striking. It shows how the architect, Peter Wormsley, injected imagination into the design of what had previously been a solely functional structure."

The stand was officially opened in 1964 with a game against East Fife. It cost £27,000 to build and seats 500 people.

Fairydean chairman Simon Gillie confessed that he wasn't expecting the stand to be listed.

He said: "Some love it, some hate it but it has done us proud over the years.

"It is by far the largest football stand in the Borders - something we should be proud of."

Simon added: "The stand being listed has rounded off a good year for football in Galashiels. The teams are doing well and the club are flourishing."

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