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Broomhill: from kids' sports club to senior football?

THEY are an ambitious bunch at Broomhill Sports Club but they have earned the right to be so.

Formed almost exactly 10 years ago by a group of parents keen to foster more sporting opportunities for children in Glasgow's west end has grown substantially, developing from just one football class for 20 kids to the point where they now teach sports as diverse as karate and hockey to more than 700 children of all ages and abilities. Now they are stepping it up a notch.

From next season they will enter a team - BSC Glasgow - in the Scottish Lowland Football League, the fifth tier of Scottish football's new pyramid system. The proposal is that the winner of next season's division will take on the Highland League champions for a right to play the side that finishes bottom of League 2 in a relegation/promotion play-off. The trapdoor at the foot of the senior set-up is finally being chiselled open and Broomhill are coming in at the right time to take advantage. In theory, this parent-led, community club could have a side in the Scottish professional game in less than 15 months' time. That, though, is not the extent of their aspirations.

"In five years, in theory, we could be playing in the Premiership," Steve Prince, one of Broomhill's founding members, coach, chairperson and de facto chief executive, told Herald Sport. "Who out there says we can't? We need to have that ambition. We have to be as good as we can be, and attractive as we can be to people who are interested in coming to see us.

"In the next few weeks we will set some targets, set some dreams, say 'this is where we want to be in 10 years' time'. We don't want to get big-headed or be seen to be getting ahead of ourselves but we desperately want to run a very good professional team representing Glasgow. There shouldn't be any glass ceilings."

BSC Glasgow, however, is a team in name only at the minute. They have no manager, players or stadium. The latter problem has been solved via a three-year agreement - with an option for an extension if required - to share Saracen Park in nearby Possil with Ashfield Juniors and the Glasgow Tigers speedway team.

The long-term ambition is for a custom-built stadium closer to their west end roots, although there is also a desire to make sure their relationship with Ashfield is not just a fleeting one. "Eventually we want to construct a purpose-built stadium and we are in the process of negotiating with the local authority about that," added Prince. "But I'd be very keen to keep the relationship going with Ashfield even after that happens. The main thing now is that we have a secure stadium and we are applying for our SFA licence. We have a natural fanbase as we have so many families at the club who are already very excited about the team. I've already had one asking me if they can bring a drum to the games."

The manager will be appointed in the coming weeks by Kenny Moyes, director of football at Broomhill, another co-founder of the club, and brother of you-know-who. Prince is reluctant to creep too far into what he considers Moyes' territory but felt this is a great opportunity for whoever gets the post.

"Kenny is working very hard speaking to people and we hope to make an announcement on the manager front soon," added Prince. "It's a key appointment; someone who wants to play good football, has contacts in the game, but who also appreciates the bigger picture."

There will be on onus on nurturing talent. "Kenny's philosophy is to develop young players and we want to be a platform for talent. It would be easy to fill the team entirely of more mature players but our focus will be on getting in young players, with a few older heads to help them out."

The long-term vision is for a European-style sports club where the talent flows from entry level through the system all the way into the professional team. Unlike many clubs, Broomhill have done things in reverse - establishing the youth set-up first before latterly introducing the professional team at the top of the pyramid - but the hope is that, regardless of how things pan out, the club will stay true to the principles that have served them so well since their foundation in June 2004.

"The five year-olds we have at Hyndland Secondary on Saturday morning playing 4 versus 4 games are just as important as the guys who will be playing for us in the Lowland League. We want anyone who comes into our club as a young child to have the opportunity to stay with us all the way until they are an adult. That's the underlying motivation for Broomhill, to create a pathway for everyone into adult sport. We want to keep growing."

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