A DRUMCHAPEL para-football squad had cause for a double celebration last week after a prosperous new set-up was announced.

Leading disability team The Fortune Flyers gained access to their old training facilities at the Donald Dewar Centre for the first time since the pandemic and got there under a new name after a merger with community club Drumchapel United.

The team is now known as Drumchapel United Fortune Flyers and will enjoy benefits such as wearing the Drumchapel United kit; full-time access to the Donald Dewar facilities; and coaching from the West of Scotland (WOS) First Division club’s coaches.

Jason Methven, Growing Together co-ordinator at the Flyers, said: “It’s going to be bigger and better for them. It’s going to be more like a match experience for them getting access to these facilities.

“The guys can get a shower after football. Wee things like that, it’s been an absolute godsend to link up with these guys.”

The Flyers were the football team of Enable Glasgow Fortune Works, one of Scotland’s largest social enterprises for people with learning disabilities, offering the opportunity to train for work and make a valuable economic contribution to the community.

All players involved are service users from Fortune Works. When the team was reformed by Jason in 2012 they only had two Scottish Disability tournaments to play in, one for five-a-sides and one for seven-a-sides. But the enthusiasm for para-football grew and after a year the Flyers had an A, B and C team.

The staff then began reaching out to other service providers across the country and in 2014 the SFA set up the Scottish Cashback League, with four divisions from Premier League to League Two.

In 2016, the Flyers won the SFA Cashback League One and got promotion into the Championship and they continued to do well until Covid emerged, locking them out their facilities.

The idea now is part of the WOS football club’s bigger disability project, adding to their already numerous teams under the United banner, ranging from girls teams and under-5s kids sides to Friday, Saturday and Sunday amateur teams up to the Senior squad, taking them to around 30 different Drumchapel United football teams at the club.

Rosie Brown, the Drumchapel United Community Engagement Officer, said: “Drumchapel United are really excited to welcome the Fortune Flyers into our family which will help support more people within our community to use football as a vehicle to help provide full inclusiveness.”

Alan Skelton, coach with the Flyers, said: “I can’t wait to get to work and get the Flyers back to the standard they deserve to be.”

And team captain Steven McNee admitted he was itching to get started. He said: “It feels excellent and it’s a great idea. I’m from Drumchapel and it makes me feel more involved in the community”

Jason added: “It’s a real opportunity for everyone involved. We can touch base with them. We can meet new people.

“We can break down barriers. We can really just join up Drumchapel as a whole community as everyone is under the one banner.”