“I got involved in coaching for the love of the game and to help young kids get better at the game they love.”
These are the words of Alasdair More, a footie-mad uncle who has taken great pride over the years in coaching and watching his nephew James, now 14-years-old, develop into a talented young player.
But Alasdair suffers from dyslexia and – inspired by the story of Paul McNeill that was published online by the SFA - he spoke to YFS about the challenges he’s faced in life, and how football has helped him overcome them:
“My dyslexia made me feel less confident,” he reveals. “But getting involved in football helped it grow back, and it’s made me feel like a stronger person.
“Helping young kids improve in the game was a great feeling and it made me feel happy because I know I helped give something back.”
Alasdair was goalkeeper coach at Blantyre Victoria Youth Club (formerly Lanarkshire Boys Club) whilst his nephew was in the 2004 squad and, even though James is a midfielder, Alasdair feels privileged to have had the opportunity to play a part in his development.
He said: “To see such a great attitude in a wee man who loves football is great.
“It makes me so happy to know I helped him out at a young age by putting down cones, doing drills and playing football on the street.
“We’re a very close family, so it’s a special feeling – even now as a supporter – to know that I’ve played a big part in his footballing life.”
James has since moved on to play for Mill United, but before leaving Blantyre he bagged last seasons Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Parents’ Player of the Year awards and will always be grateful for the support and inspiration his uncle has given him throughout his fledgling career.
He said: “Me and my uncle would practice down the park when I was younger, and he would tell me all about his background in football.
“It made me fall more in love with the game.”
It is estimated that one in ten people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, including ex-Rangers star Steven Naismith, but rather than letting it hold him back, Alasdair has used the adversity to inspire the next generation of footballers; to help them feel comfortable with who they are and to realise that they can overcome any obstacles in their way:
“James knew I have dyslexia and that I wouldn’t let it stop me coaching because I love football so much,” he said. “I started growing in confidence when I saw these young players looking up to me and starting to believe in their own ability.
“It fills me with so much pride knowing I’ve helped these kids fall in love with football and taught them never to give up on their dreams.”
Although he’s no longer coaching, Alasdair is excited to continue supporting his nephew whatever the future may hold, and will always cherish the memories from his time at Blantrye:
“A particular high point has to be coaching the goalkeepers of the 2000’s team when they won the league title, and being involved with James’ team was special,” he remembers. “Now, I watch as a spectator because I want the very best for the wee man.
“I love every second of it.”