Aberdeen removes “No ball games” signs in health drive

Denis Law helped his hometown of Aberdeen become the first Scottish city to lift the ban on ball games in public. Picture: Newsline
Denis Law helped his hometown of Aberdeen become the first Scottish city to lift the ban on ball games in public. Picture: Newsline
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Football legend Denis Law has helped his home town of Aberdeen become the first Scottish city to lift a ban on ball games in public spaces.

Generations of youngsters have been warned off having a knockabout in many of the Granite City’s green spaces by large signs stating “No ball games”. But the former Scotland, Manchester United and Manchester City striker helped change that when he pushed down the first of many signs to be scrapped as part of a new healthy living initiative.

Denis Law playing with children in  Aberdeen in 1961. Picture: Newsline

Denis Law playing with children in Aberdeen in 1961. Picture: Newsline

It is hoped the removal of the signs will encourage youngsters to play outside and enjoy a more active lifestyle.

Aberdeen will be the first city in Scotland to try the move and will join only a handful of other places across the UK that have no signs in parks and green spaces forbidding ball games.

Law, 75, removed the first sign yesterday in his old neighbourhood of Powis, where he first dazzled his school pals with his fly footwork 60 years ago.

Also in attendance was his former Manchester City team mate Mike Summerbee.

These young kids today are not coming through into the world of football because they can’t play anywhere

Dennis Law

Law said the scheme would help improve the next generation’s health – and could give Scottish football a talent boost.

He said: “Back in my day, there were no cars about so we would play a lot of football in the streets. There was no television then either, so we played football all the time.

“Where do kids play now? They can’t play in the streets now, there are too many cars.

“These young kids today are not coming through into the world of football because they can’t play anywhere.

“We haven’t seen the players that we should have.”

The Lawman went on: “If you take these [signs] down then they can play on the grass.

“It’s nice when it’s winter and the children are indoors but otherwise they should be out playing football or whatever sport they want. They are the future of the game.

“I’m sure the kids will love it.”

The signs, located at various locations around the city, were erected over a number of years on a piecemeal basis to deter antisocial behaviour.

The campaign to remove them was spearheaded by local charity Aberdeen Greenspace, which is committed to regenerating and developing city-centre green spaces for community use.