A DECADE ago a public meeting was called in the Gordon Arms.

Something was missing from West Linton... and plans were afoot to fill the glaring gap in the village's sporting credentials.

Founded in the 1920s Linton Hotspur were one of Peeblesshire's oldest amateur football clubs.

During the following decades they played at various venues in and around the village.

But despite everyone’s best efforts they were eventually forced to call it a day in 1971 after a particularly sobering 12–2 defeat to Ferranti Thistle - a team who eventually went onto become the current day SPL side Livingston.

Yet many locals, particularly those with family connections, remembered The Hotspur fondly.

And during that public meeting in 2008 there was enough interest shown for a new committee to be formed.

Since that evening in the Gordon Arms, Linton Hotspur has gone from strength to strength.

Fundraising and sponsorship raised around £20,000 which allowed the club to purchase changing facilities at the former school playing field at Deanfoot Road.

In 2009 the senior team was admitted into the Border Amateur Football Association and played their first game since 1971 in front of around 350 local supporters.

At the same time the previously informal youth set-up in West Linton was brought under one umbrella to create a ‘community club’ with playing opportunities from pre-school ages upwards.

But once again there was a problem looming.

In 2010, plans were announced for the new West Linton Primary School, and its impending construction on the school playing field would effectively render Linton Hotspur homeless.

Driven by a committee who saw this as a challenge rather than a problem, and having raised another £11,000, the club was able to move to a new home at New Moor Road in 2012.

This was made possible by the generous assistance of a local landowners, Mr and Mrs Jim Clark, who granted the club an annual rolling lease over one of their fields to create the pitch.

Four years on, the club was presented with an opportunity to set down permanent roots on the site.

In the interim period, the club continued to expand by introducing a range of under-age boys' teams in addition to the senior side.

The club’s Youth Section has now achieved both ‘SFA Community Club’ status and the ‘SFA Quality Mark’.

It has fully qualified coaches at all levels and formalised player development pathways.

Over 100 boys, girls and men in the West Linton area, now play football each week under the Linton Hotspur banner.

But there are always challenges.

One of the specific, and genuine, problems for Linton Hotspur in recent years has been brought about by the difficulties of playing in the Border Amateur League.

Midweek games with 6.30pm kick-offs in Kelso or Galashiels regularly meant that players who work in Edinburgh couldn't get there in time.

Having just endured a disappointing 2017/18 season, winning only four games and finishing second bottom of Border Amateur Football B Division, the club reluctantly resigned from the Border League and joined the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association for 2018/19.

This change has cut down on travel times, made life easier for the existing players and also helped widen the net in attracting players to the club.

Another change has come in the form of the new facilities at New Moor Road.

Four years ago, the club was presented with the opportunity to buy the land leased from Mr and Mrs Clark.

An extremely generous local businessman stepped in to assist the club, buying the land and immediately leasing it back to Linton Hotspur for a period of 99 years.

This was the first time in the club's short recent history that they had the benefit of security of tenure, opening up opportunities to develop their facilities further.

Club President Campbell Forsyth said: "The club was presented with an opportunity to put down permanent roots and improve the sporting provisions in West Linton.

"The committee and club members are driven, enthusiastic and excited about what the future may bring for the club and are eager for others to buy into our ambition.

"We would like to place on record our thanks for all the assistance we have had in our journey to date, and hope that the village will share in our ambition for the future."

On securing their future at the New Moor Road site, the committee immediately set about improving the facilities.

A surplus modular building was secured from Scottish Borders Council, and alongside donations in kind which were estimated to be in the region of £70,000 through labour and material, the club raised £30,000 to fit out the facility with changing, shower, kitchen and communal facilities in addition to a designated road access and car parking.

A crowdfunding campaign raised around £11,000 over 2016 and more traditional methods, like dinners and a 24-hour cycling event, provided the club with the resources to press on with their plans and achieve the ultimate objective of creating a facility the whole community can enjoy and be proud of.

Linton Hotspur vice-chairman Ivan Mackenzie told us: "We received some grants, but a lot of support came through the kindness of the local community, which we greatly appreciated."

The new facility, named the ‘Hotspur Sports Pavilion’, was formally opened on July 22, 2017, marked by a children’s fun day, sponsors day and a glamour friendly with Berwick Rangers FC.

And the future for Linton Hotspur, as they celebrate a decade since being refounded, has never been brighter.

Ivan added: "We have a new manager and he has already brought in some new players.

"Everyone associated with the club is excited about the new chapter in our long and proud history.

"Off the pitch we are continuing to review our plans and early discussions have taken place to explore ideas like building indoor training facilities at our ground, floodlighting and maybe also a 4G pitch.

"We have benefitted significantly from our connections into the local community and hope that the community will continue to support us in achieving our ambitions."

A tenth anniversary dinner will take place in the Old Bakehouse Restaurant on Saturday, October 27.

More events are planned over the coming months.