MELROSE FC begin the new season as one of the fastest growing football clubs in Scotland.

And with more than 200 registered players, the club is planning an ambitious expansion programme, including new changing rooms at their Gibson Park home.

On Sunday the club unveiled their new playing kit designed by two of their players – Tom McLean, six, and Archie Yuill, 11.

The new look was made possible by a new set of sponsors and support from Scottish Borders Council.

The logos of CGI, Campbell & Palmer, pmgd, Ferguson Planning, and The Italian Job Barbers are all proudly displayed on the shirt.

Hamilton & Heard have paid for warm up tops for the history-making under 14s team who have been promoted to the South East Region Youth Football Association League One for the first time.

They will now be crossing swords with top teams such as Hutchinson Vale, Musselburgh, Bonnyrigg and Edinburgh City in the new season.

In another encouraging development, Melrose FC now boast more than 60 female players.

Expansion ambitions include an extension to the ‘Engine Room’, the old Melrose fire station at Gibson Park, which serves as the club house.

A new modern changing room to cater for the boom in female players is being planned by facilities officer Claire Ramsey and treasurer Alasdair Wright.

Club chairman Greg Simpson said: “It has been a difficult year for football with COVID hitting training, matches and finances. As a football club rooted in the community, amazing local support has kept us afloat and is now propelling us to new heights.

“The community-funded, all-weather pitch at the Greenyards means we can now play football all year round, and in the dark winter evenings too.

“Thanks to our new sponsors and support from the council that future is looking bright. The new kit, designed by our players, is breath-taking. I can’t wait to see our boys and girls taking to the pitch.”

Melrose councillor David Parker, who is also the convener of Scottish Borders Council, added: “The achievements of the football club have been tremendous and it is great to see so many young people playing football in the Melrose area.

“The club’s ambitious plans to improve their facilities are very welcome news and I’m delighted that the new 3G pitch investment is having a positive impact for young people of all ages and ability.

“Melrose’s new kit is very striking and all the young people, coaches and volunteers who make the club so vibrant should be very proud of their achievements on and off the field.”