Knights clubhouse destroyed
FOR outsiders it may not be the prettiest thing to look at, but for Ipswich Knights and Coalstars faithful it holds decades of footballing memories – both happy and sad.
The fears of those who have put years of blood, sweat and tears into keeping the Bundamba club alive were realised this week, when it was confirmed the clubhouse, part of which is more than 30 years old, will be demolished.
Despite withstanding serious flood damage in 2008 and 2009, the brick building has been left in a condemned state after last month’s inundation, which reached a height of about three metres in the newer, upper section.
For Ipswich Knights life member Rob Hughes, the decision to knock the clubhouse down was understandable but still heartbreaking.
Mr Hughes has been associated with the club since 1960, when at the age of 16 he made his senior football debut with what was then known as Blackstone Rovers.
He was also part of the original Coalstars team in 1964 and has been a passionate volunteer at the club over the years, including after the merger with St Helens in 1998 – the year the Ipswich Knights Soccer Club was born.
“I don’t think I will want to be here when it gets knocked down,” Mr Hughes said.
“I’m not the only one who will be emotional when the day comes either. Over the years we’ve done a lot of work around here.”
The lower, older block section of the clubhouse was built in the mid-1970s. A group of players put the dressing rooms up themselves.
The newer part of the clubhouse was built on a federal grant in the late 1980s and was officially opened in 1988.
“It was a big deal at the time – $700,000 or $800,000,” Mr Hughes said.
“It was built by people on an unemployment scheme. We thought it was fantastic.”
Ipswich Knights lease the facility from Ipswich City Council, which ultimately had the say on the clubhouse’s fate.
Club president Troy Beahan said the committee was yet to see plans for the new clubhouse.
Players, fans and officials will have to get by with demountable buildings until a new clubhouse can be built.
Ipswich Knights club members are planning to have a final drink in the clubhouse before it is demolished. Anyone associated with the club over the years can attend. A date for this event is yet to be confirmed.