Hello! First of all, I’m so excited to be joining the team at Play Fund Win. I have always been involved in sport, so to carry this into a professional role with an organisation which supports sports clubs is just brilliant. I’m itching to started!
I joined my first football club, EK Burgh, at the age of 4. I played at this level until I signed for Dundee United on an S Form at the age of 13 and I remained there until I was 18, following two years as a full-time apprentice.
During my time at the club, I completed an SVQ with the Scottish FA in their Sports Development department. This gave me the opportunity to complete my first coaching qualifications.
Through a contact I got the opportunity to go on trial for a club based near Seattle, USA, which proved successful, and I played for the club in their 2010 and 2011 seasons. In the 2011 season we became USL/ PDL National Champions, with the final being played in front of our home fans. This was a fantastic life experience and gave me memories that will live with me forever!
My success there gave me the inspiration to come back to Scotland and play at a professional level. I signed for Montrose which happened to coincide with Rangers being relegated to the same league. That gave me some fantastic experiences that I thought might not happen for me by that point. It is a very special feeling to run out at Ibrox Park in front of 52,000 people!
It’s safe to say that supporters have shaped some of my best memories on the pitch, and the way in which Play Fund Win offers rewards to those who offer financial support to clubs and their foundations is something I’m really keen to highlight when I’m speaking to clubs.
By this point in my career, I was starting to realise that my future was more likely to be in the part-time game rather that the full-time, and I started to think of my future beyond playing the game. Through PFA Scotland I commenced a Sports Management degree online, which I managed to juggle around work and playing, and I completed it four years later.
During this time, I had further success on the park winning the League, Scottish Cup and Evening Times cup treble with Glenafton Athletic in the Scottish Juniors (non-league).
As I reflect on my career in football and the challenges over the last couple of years for everyone, there has been clarity for me that I want to be in environments that I enjoy every day, with people I want to be around. The vast majority of us will need to work for most of our lives so it seems ridiculous to me that I would be doing something that isn’t fun and helps to make a difference. That’s why I’m so pleased to join the Play Fund Win team.
My role with Play Fund Win will give me the opportunity to help people and causes in an industry that has been my whole life up to this point – from when I first joined EK Burgh. I can’t wait to get out and about and meet with clubs both north and south of the border, and start them on their journey of fundraising with Play Fund Win.
If you’d like to have a conversation about fundraising for your club, and how the platform could work for you, then please feel free to get in touch on: David.Gray@playfundwin.com