Football legend honoured in home town
Published Friday, 17 June 2011
Scotland and Hearts football legend John Cumming is honoured today with the naming of the £3.5million sports stadium in Carluke.
In his youth, John Cumming, who died two years ago aged 78, played for Carluke Rovers and went on to become a legend at Hearts and a Scotland Internationalist.
Now, much to the delight of John's family, his name will live on in his home town. This very special tribute was formally unveiled today when South Lanarkshire Council's replacement for Carluke's Loch Park Stadium was officially opened by John's widow, Jane Cumming.
Midfielder John became a Scottish International footballer, playing nine times for Scotland and, nicknamed the 'Iron Man' for his fearless and determined tackling, spent his club career with Hearts.
Though sometimes taking some serious knocks himself, he never lost his temper and was never booked in a competitive match for the Edinburgh side. During his career, John won two league championship medals, one Scottish Cup medal and four Scottish League Cup medals.
He began and ended his life in Carluke but it was in Edinburgh that he was revered and gained legendary status as a footballer with 612 appearances, 58 goals and a medal list which was one of the most impressive in Hearts' history. At the end of his playing career, John spent 10 years as a trainer at Hearts before returning to work in the steel industry.
He quickly became a stalwart of his local community in Carluke flinging himself tirelessly into working for and with the people in the community.
John and Jane's family includes son James, daughter Jean, and their five grandchildren.
His widow Jane said: "Having the sports arena named after John is a tremendous honour and I'm over the moon about it."
And daughter Jean added: "Dad was never happier than when he was playing football or doing something to help people. He was tireless in his efforts and there was no holding him back.
"He loved the time he had with his grandchildren and encouraged them all to get interested in sport as it is such a healthy lifestyle. We are all thrilled the council has chosen to honour him in his home town."
Councillor Hamish Stewart, Depute Chair of Community Resources, said: "I am delighted that we have chosen to name this fantastic facility The John Cumming Stadium to honour this local man.
"He was not only a football legend but also a great man who did all he could for the people of his community and will be remembered here as much for his caring and tireless work for them, as he is for his legendary football career."
The new £3.5million stadium, fully funded by the council and built by Marshall Construction, has a wide range of leisure facilities for the community. With easy disabled access to all areas of the complex, it incorporates a full-size third generation synthetic sports pitch which can be divided into three seven a-side areas.
It also has an eight-lane polymeric running track with integrated steeple chase, long jump pit, practice shot put and high jump quadrant.
And the attractive new changing pavilion also has a committee room, kitchen and vending area.
Councillor Stewart added: "This is a wonderful facility for all of our sports enthusiasts in the Carluke area and I am sure it will be made full use of and very much enjoyed by all.
"We would also hope that it will help attract regional and national athletic events to Carluke. It is one of a number of successful projects that has seen the improvement of facilities across a range of sporting venues throughout the South Lanarkshire area."
And Gerry Campbell, the General Manager of South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture added: "The investment in this new facility at Carluke continues to demonstrate the council's commitment to improve services and widen opportunities for residents to engage in healthy lifestyles through active participation."
Nigel Holl, Chief Executive of Scottish Athletics, commented: "Having had the chance to visit the facility, it obviously represents a tremendous opportunity for athletics in and around Carluke.
"It is a fantastic development and the combination of top-quality track, associated facilities all at a high school site, should mean that school, after-school, and community athletics programmes can be significantly boosted - providing some great opportunities for people of all ages.
"I look to Carluke becoming a key centre for athletics - jogging, road running, and track and field. That is a challenge but a positive one made feasible by the excellent investment by the council with the support and drive of South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture."