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Monday, 26 February 2018 11:50

Drumchapel United - a top community club with high ambitions

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Drumchapel United are a community football club based in the west of Glasgow. Drumchapel are a relatively young club, having been founded in the summer of 2005. The club are a huge, volunteer-run organisation with 23 playing squads and over 400 players registered to their squads.

Most of the squads play in red and black stripes with black shorts, giving the kit a similar look to English Premier League outfit Bournemouth. United don’t have their own ground yet, though this remains a long-term objective at the club. Currently, Drumchapel play their games at council-run facilities.

Their local rivals are Drumchapel Amateurs, who count Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes amongst their alumni.

The SFA awarded Drumchapel United Legacy Club status, making them just one of five clubs in the West of Scotland region to receive the accolade.

Last year United won the SFA's Best Community Club award, becoming the first side in the region to do so. They claimed the award based on the massive amount of work that the club does with the local community.

And with good reason too. In 2017 alone, Drumchapel United organised four food banks; set up a toy collection for impoverished children at Christmas; taught children in schools about the benefits of nutrition and health; ran Easter, Summer and October camps for their players; collected litter and volunteered at old folk’s homes. Put simply; if the club were in a position to help, they did.

That’s what separates Drumchapel United from other clubs – there is a strong focus in everything that they do in giving back to the community. As club secretary Scott Bland puts it: “For us, it’s really about celebrating what the club does in the community.”

The club prioritise their efforts on community work but remain competitive in competitions. Most of their squads are there-or-thereabouts in their respective divisions, although no major trophies have been lifted in recent years.

Amongst Drumchapel’s 23 squads are six squads for girls – if demand increases, there could be even more in the future. United even received a small amount of funding for their work in recruiting inactive girls to play for them and take part in a healthy lifestyle.

It’s not just the players who are given a chance to develop though. Drumchapel United have 98 coaches (training their respective squads at least once a week) registered to the club, with around a fifth of them aged between 16 and 20. The young coaches gain invaluable experience of the day-to-day realities of coaching, whilst learning new skills and working in a real-world environment.

The club are run almost entirely on fees, with the odd small but significant grant from governing bodies. Bland estimated that around 90% of the club’s economic model relied on fees – with no member of staff taking a wage. Everyone involved at Drumchapel United is there simply due to their love of the club, donating their spare time with no financial reward.

Looking forward, Bland says that the club must target having their own stadium and training facilities, so as not to have to worry about finding pitches available for hire from the council. The added stability of a permanent home could really help the club to flourish in the future.

Drumchapel itself has had problems with crime in the past, and Scott hopes that the work that Drumchapel United do will help portray the area in a better light.

He said: “The team has been a really positive message for Drumchapel, rather than as a dodgy statistic on the news. It’s great to help our community and show that the area isn’t what people think it is.”

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