FOOTBALL fans in two Border towns are celebrating this week after the local authority agreed to fund their floodlight plans.

Both Vale of Leithen in the Lowland League and East Conference side Coldstream risked losing their valuable Scottish Football Association licences.

A requirement from Hampden for ongoing ground improvements at all clubs involved in the pyramid system left officials at Victoria Park and Home Park facing a race against time to have floodlights installed.

Although plans are in place for pylons at both grounds, raising the money was proving a problem.

But this week members of the ruling Administration at Scottish Borders Council awarded the clubs a total of £155,000 to meet the costs.

John Anderson from Vale of Leithen told us: "We are delighted that Scottish Borders Council have approved financial and practical support to the club to install floodlights.

"As we have previously stated, these floodlights are now a licence requirement from the SFA and failure to install floodlights will cost the club its licence and ultimately its existence.

"We have received great support from councillors, officials and the community as a whole and this is a significant step in securing the club's future."

Vale still have to wait on the outcome of a planning application for the erection of four floodlight columns before work can begin.

Although there have been no objections from neighbours to the full application, which was submitted in December, concerns have been raised by the local authority's Environmental Health department.

Officer Craig Brown stated: "Environmental Health has concerns regarding the potential impact to residential amenity of this proposal."

It is not expected that any planning delays will prevent Vale meeting their summer-time deadline for the licensing requirements inspection.

Over the past decade at Home Park major improvements have been carried out to the pavilion and ground.

As well as fencing off the first team's pitch and installing a sheltered enclosure, officials also carried extensive improvements to the clubrooms.

And the financial backing from Scottish Borders Council to install floodlights has been welcomed.

Bob Martin from Coldstream FC said: "This is a great result for both of our clubs."

This weekend Vale face a crunch relegation battle with Gretna at Victoria Park.