When Steven Sweeney left the community department in March for pastures new we knew big shoes had to be filled. Last month two new members were brought on to the St Mirren in the Community team in the shape of Dave Mackay and Ross Paterson who are both relishing the task ahead.
32-year-old Dave hails from the Isle of Lewis but he made the move to Glasgow in 1998. He has been steeped in football throughout his working life as he coached squads for five years in the youth programme at Partick Thistle Football Club and worked at the Street League, a sports/employability charity which moves 16-24-year-olds back into sustainable employment education or training.
Dave – who is also currently working in the youth academy at St Mirren coaching the Under-14 squad alongside Brian Sproul – is relishing his new role at St Mirren as a community coach and what he sees for the road ahead.
He said, “I feel privileged to have been offered this fantastic opportunity to further develop existing community programmes at the club and implement new programmes and initiatives to a wider community and a varying range of client groups.
“From commencing the role it is apparent that excellent foundations have been laid by the previous community development officers and it is clear that the club has a real focus to engage with the local community and involve them as closely with the club as possible.
“From previously working alongside Ross I am looking forward to again working with him closely to drive the community arm of the club into a new era. I would like to use all my previous experiences to strengthen existing community partnerships as well as developing existing initiatives and creating new and exciting activity for all.”
Ross is a Paisley boy and like Dave came to St Mirren from football roots as he spent over ten years with Queen’s Park Football Club as Youth and Goalkeeping Coach in addition to Community Football Coordinator.
The 29-year-old also worked for East Renfrewshire Council’s Football Development Section in addition to his position as Goalkeeping Coach at East of Scotland Super League side, Bo’ness United Football Club. And in between all of that he found time to attain an Honours Degree in Sports Development, the Scottish Football Association’s Advanced Children’s Licence and Goalkeeping Licence Diploma and is also currently undertaking The Elite Youth A Licence.
Like Dave, Ross is very optimistic about what they have inherited and the road forward.
He said, “The club’s community programme is fantastic! Under the stewardship of David Longwell, Frazer Robertson, Gary Hocknull and latterly Steven Sweeney, the programme has grown from strength to strength and is highly regarded throughout Paisley and Renfrewshire.
“From community football centres, Scottish Football Association partnership programmes, employment initiatives and the award winning Street Stuff programme, St Mirren have been using football and sport as a vehicle to engage, educate and motivate the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire for a number of years.
“I would like to continue the hard work that has been put into the community programme over the years and ensure that St Mirren Football Club is at the forefront of sporting excellence in Renfrewshire.
“I believe that St Mirren is a family club and should be the beating heart of the local community. It is my ambition to build on the current success of the community programme and the club’s fantastic achievement in winning the Scottish Communities League Cup and ensure that we cater for people from all walks of life with varying abilities and make football in Renfrewshire as accessible as possible.”
All at the Club would like to welcome Dave and Ross to St Mirren Footabll Club.