THE outgoing president of one of the largest youth football clubs in the country has highlighted the increased cost of keeping hundreds of boys and girls on the pitch.

John Hood proudly reported that Musselburgh Windsor Football Club was now home to more than 500 playing members and 131 volunteers coaches.

He stepped down at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) but raised various issues facing the club, including the struggles faced at Pinkie Playing Fields when it came to trying to accommodate more than 35 teams now operating within the club.

Mr Hood, who was also the club’s treasurer, lamented the escalating cost of facilities, stating that in the most recent season, Windsor will have paid circa £48,000 to enjoyleisure for the use of changing rooms, training pitches and for pitch hire for matches.

Despite the significant sums, the club were unable to achieve their aim of building a clubroom from which to operate.

He hoped the club could engage with enjoyleisure with a view to adapting existing facilities.

In closing, Mr Hood acknowledged the achievements of the Under-15s’ side in winning the Scottish Cup in May against Edinburgh club Tynecastle.

Jim Dickson, vice-president of the club, took the chair and spoke of his admiration for Mr Hood.

Allan Russell, who also received the John Murray Award, was elected unopposed as the new club president.

He said: “I am delighted to be taking over as president of Musselburgh Windsor and was delighted at being thought worthy of the John Murray Award.

“Having been involved with the club over the last few years, the last 12 months as club secretary, I have seen participation levels increase by over 25 per cent to nearly 650 coaches and players and this has required an unprecedented level of change in a very short space of time.

“By accepting the role of club president, I look forward to driving forward the future changes within the club and working with the local council and other sporting organisations to obtain their support in providing adequate facilities to allow the increasing number of kids in the community to play football.”

Before concluding the meeting, Mr Dickson invited Hall of Fame member Scott Robertson to give members an insight into the work of John Murray and the club’s top prize – Award for Special Achievement shield.

Mr Dickson went on to remark that the recipient had overseen the registration process for many of the club members, constructed a new members database, worked in tandem with the club’s player protection officer to ensure PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) applications were processed, brought the teams up to standard with Scottish FA coaching qualifications, reorganised the girls’ section administration, produced a financial plan and forecast and, latterly, chaired the monthly board meetings.