Archive for October, 2012

On Thursday night we gathered at Hampden in honour of the true heroes of Scotland’s national game. This prestigious occasion was for the people who give up every moment of free time to dedicate themselves to the beautiful game at its most honest level – the grassroots. Amidst the canopies, black ties and grandeur – a far cry from the tracksuits and muddy parks of a Saturday or Sunday morning – stood some of the game’s most inspiring individuals.

The Scottish FA Grassroots Awards 2012 was a humbling occasion and there was not a story told on the night that wouldn‘t inspire anyone to muck in and do their bit to promote the good work that‘s done countrywide day-in, day-out.

The awards, in their ninth year and supported by McDonald’s and the Sunday Mail, were attended by Scotland’s national team manager, Craig Levein, and arguably Scotland’s greatest ever player, Kenny Dalglish. A look around the room at the high profile attendees gave a good example of the emphasis and high esteem placed upon the event, and the grassroots game.

The deserving winners on the night were:

BEST VOLUNTEER IN YOUTH FOOTBALL

Derek Paterson,
Kelso FC

BEST VOLUNTEER IN DISABILITY FOOTBALL

Yvonne Alexander,
Grampian

BEST VOLUNTEER IN SCHOOLS FOOTBALL

John Peterson, Mintlaw HS

BEST VOLUNTEER IN WOMEN’S/ GIRLS FOOTBALL

Doug Johnston,
Linlithgow Rose CFC

BEST VOLUNTEER IN ADULT FOOTBALL

Hugh Carswell,
Scotland Amateurs

BEST COACH IN YOUTH FOOTBALL

Tony Begg,
Loanhead Miners YFC

McDONALD’S COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD

James Strathdee,
Glasgow City Girls FC

BEST COMMUNITY FOOTBALL CLUB
Westdyke CFC

BEST PROFESSIONAL CLUB IN THE COMMUNITY

Stenhousemuir FC

MERIT AWARD SERVICES TO GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL

Robert McCallum,
Gartcairn CFC

There were excellent speeches from the winners and from the likes of Jim Fleeting and Craig Levein, but it was probably Kenny Dalglish who best captured  the splendour of the grassroots game.

Dalglish said:

“I’ve been there, I’ve been out forking pitches, putting up nets and doing what I could to see my own son got a game when he was younger – I know how much hard work goes in. If my own mum hadn’t washed the strips for our team, I might never have got a game myself as a kid.

“And the beauty of all the football I’ve seen through my association with this project over the past decade is that I’ve never yet seen a kid come off the park without a smile on their face.

“That’s the important thing in all of this, that they love the game, and it’s what everyone should be most proud of.”

Anyone involved in the grassroots game could probably ring off a dozen or so suggestions for deserving winners and that’s a very good situation for us to be in as a nation. It’s not hard to find to a willing worker to roll up their sleeves for the game.

It’s for this reason that each of the winners were keen to share the praise they received with their extended team of coaches and volunteers. In each winners’ speech the word ‘we’ was common and this perfectly sums up the grassroots game. It is selfless people working hard for the greater good, with football being their method.

The winners of these awards, like the many other local heroes not present on the night, are champions of their communities. They are not just developing footballers, they are developing people and communities, and for that reason above all others – we salute you!

 

(Originally published on Youth Football Scotland)