THE 125TH anniversary celebrations of one of Scotland’s oldest football teams hang in the balance as the Borders side’s commemoration kit has been sidelined on a lorry in the Channel Tunnel queue.
Vale of Leithen were due to kick off their anniversary season by unveiling a new retro strip ahead of their Lowland League match with Whitehill Welfare.
Our sponsors wanted a one-off anniversary strip that would be remembered - unfortunately it is already being remembered for the wrong reasons.”Mark Lamb
The striking red and black strips which carry a specially designed 125-years motif had been on its way from an Adidas factory in Germany,
However as the migrant crisis in and around Calais has intensified in recent months hundreds of lorries under Operation Stack have been forced to queue for many days on either side of the Channel Tunnel.
It estimated that the chaos is costing Britain’s freight industry as much as £750,000 a day.
Earlier this week fisheries minister Richard Lochhead said that Scottish ports and airports should be considered as alternatives to Channel crossings for businesses.
This comes after plans were revealed to trial a “quick-to-market” route for vehicles carrying fresh produce that are caught up in continuing delays either side of the Tunnel.
Vale of Leithen general manager Mark Lamb said: “We are checking with the suppliers every day and all we can do is keep our fingers crossed.
“The order was placed six weeks ago and the strips should have been with us last week.
“Our sponsors, B&D Roofing, wanted a one-off anniversary strip that would be remembered - unfortunately it is already being remembered for the wrong reasons.”
Vale of Leithen were formed in 1891, becoming full members of the Scottish FA six years later.
In recent decades the Innerleithen club competed in the East of Scotland leagues before taking their place in the newly formed Lowland League in 2013.
Celebrations are planned throughout 2015/16 with many former managers and players being invited back to Victoria Park for dinners and receptions.
However the backlog at the Channel Tunnel may prevent tomorrow’s planned strip launch going ahead.
Vale chairman Jack Diamond added: “We appreciate how difficult it is for the lorries trying to get through the tunnel.
“We wanted to launch our 125th anniversary year by unveiling the new strips on our first Saturday home game.
“It’s looking more and more like this won’t happen.”