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Saturday 24th May 2014

Firs Park, Falkirk. Former home of East Stirlingshire FC

This is very much the “After,”  of my 2006 visit to the, The Shire. If you haven’t read the “Before,” bit here’s the the link to that article. What follows doesn’t make much sense without it.

Not that, in all honesty, much makes sense about East Stirlingshire. The club left here in 2008, the two stands were demolished in 2012, and despite this being in a less than salubrious part of Falkirk, a massive retail park next door should have meant the ground should be either flats or a parade of shops by now.

Former Shire chairman Alan J Mackin still owns this, and despite the obvious security, the local junkies use the abandoned toilet block as a shooting gallery, and the air of despondency emanating from the run-down tenements in Firs Street is pervasive. Two local residents glowered at me as I found a gap in the fence by the remains of a turnstile to squeeze through into the old ground and align what I was seeing with my memories.

The £10 players, the dispute at the Pie Stall, the players, and even the ghost of Alex Ferguson haunt this place, even the graffiti of a goal on the “Land of Leather,” wall has a slightly demonic feel to it.

I pressed the shutter a couple more times, forced a grin at the two locals, then scuttled off back to the car.