Just over a year ago, I launched the first-ever Football Fun Factory community in Scotland, hundreds of miles away from any existing Head Coaches. Sounds scary, right?
However, though miles apart, the incredible network of Head Coaches and the team at Head Office created a collaborative, supportive and inspiring environment for me to bring local, inclusive and affordable football to families in my hometown.
During the lockdown, my daughter gave me a TikTok workshop. Little did I know this would lead me to discover the Football Fun Factory! While browsing football videos, I came across Jonny Martin, Co-Founder and Director of the FFF. I loved his passion for coaching children, and it immediately drew me into the FFF!
So let me tell you my story from here.
It’s April 1967, and 30,000 Tartan Army descend upon Wembley to watch Scotland reign victorious against the Auld Enemy, England, the World Champions! They returned to Scotland with sore heads and immense pride. Famously collecting souvenirs such as turf, pieces of net and even the crossbar!
Fast forward 54 years and an aspiring Football Fun Factory Head Coach travels from Scotland to Cambridge via London. As I travel, I imagine the anticipation of the Tartan Army that day and measure it against my own excitement!
Over the next 24 hours, I meet the FFF Directors James Cutting and Jonny Martin, Superstar Head Coach Dave Caciedo and most importantly, a fantastic group of boys & girls aged between two and 12.
Not only did I witness a FFF session in action, but I was also right in the middle of it, coaching the children!
From the Astro pitch to the office (changing room), I was in discussions with the team about bringing the FFF to Scotland, and I signed up quicker than King Kenny Dalglish when he saw Anfield for the first time!
I’m blown away by everything I witnessed during this short trip, particularly the energy and passion throughout the Football Fun & Development and Tots Football Fun sessions!
I travelled back home over the border without any turf or crossbars but a burning desire to bring the Football Fun Factory to Scotland! Knowing I would be the first Head Coach in Scotland excited me about the opportunity ahead!
From the day I arrived back in Scotland, things moved quicker than Scotland’s exit from a World Cup.
With the support of the FFF team, I was onboarded, fully trained and ready to launch Scotland’s first Football Fun Factory in my home town of Kilmarnock within one month!
Reflecting on my journey, from that first trip till now, it’s been an absolute whirlwind of twists and turns. But, like Archie Gemmill navigating through the Dutch defence, we’ve both come through the other side and finished with a goal! Mine being to bring smiles to the faces of boys and girls in Scotland via the Football Fun Factory!
In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, I am very proud to be the first Football Fun Factory Head Coach in Scotland. And in the ethos of his famous Manchester United teams, I won’t stop after just one goal!
I’m passionate about making Scotland a sea of blue and yellow!
Head Coach Blair Gray delivers his Football Fun Factory experiences in Kilmarnock and surrounding areas.