STEVIE Graham feels like Inverness City are undergoing something of a rebirth as they prepare to officially open their new home ground in the Highland Capital tonight.
Since the club’s inception in 2006, City have led a nomadic existence having never been able to find a permanent home in Inverness.
They did have spells at the Northern Meeting after moving from the North Caledonian League to the ranks of junior football in 2008, but it proved to be an ill-fated stint as Northern Counties cricket club were given preference over City to use the facility.
This led to Inverness being denied promotion to the North Superleague several times and even the threat of demotion due to the fact they did not have a permanent home ground.
However, after lengthy negotiations with Highland Council, City were allowed to relocate to Bught Park on a five-year lease.
After fencing off their pitch and putting in all the necessary facilities required by the Scottish Junior Football Association, Lister Park, named after the club’s former president Ian Lister, who passed away earlier this year, will finally be somewhere for City to call home.
"It’s a clean slate for us," said manager Graham. "It feels like we are starting all over again.
"There’s been a real rollercoaster of emotions felt by everyone connected to this club since we started trying to find somewhere in Inverness to play our football.
"We’ve had all sorts of trials and tribulations, but that’s all in the past now. We’re just really looking forward to opening the ground now.
"Because of what’s happened, we’ve not been able to play a game in Inverness for something like two years.
"It will be a proud moment tomorrow night for the club as a whole.
"We were proud when we played our first game at the Northern Meeting Park, but we knew that wasn’t ours.
"This feels more final and although we know we only have a lease for a certain length of time, hopefully that can be extended because there’s been a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of heartache experienced just to get to this stage."
Graham hopes that with City’s return to Inverness, the club will see a benefit in terms of more supporters being able to turn out and follow their progress.
"No matter where we’ve played, we’ve always had a really loyal fanbase that have always been their to back us at every single game," he said.
"It’s been hard, however, and there’s no doubt that because we’ve not been playing in Inverness then the numbers have steadily went down.
"In many respects, we’re starting from scratch, but hopefully out of sheer curiosity a few people will come along to see what we’re about.
"We’re a team that like to play football, so if those coming along see that then it might just tempt them to keep coming back."