A Scottish disability football club have received a surprise visit from a bonafide legend of the game.
Stirling City All Stars – whose website is powered by Club Website – this week received a visit from Scotland and Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish MBE, who volunteered at the club for the day.
The award-winning club provides football for adults with disabilities in the Stirling and Forth Valley area. They run training sessions 50 weeks of the year, have three teams playing in the SFA National Disability Football League and provide regular trips to competitions around the UK.
The club is run entirely by volunteers and they had an extra pair of hands to help out this week, as Dalglish took on some of the typical roles performed by volunteers to celebrate the launch of the 2017 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, which recognises volunteers across Scotland who make a real difference to their communities.
Having rolled up his sleeves to help out with the club’s day-to-day tasks, such as picking up kit, setting up goals and turning on the floodlights, the former Liverpool and Celtic striker – who won four Scottish titles as a player and nine English titles as a player or manager – also passed on his wealth of knowledge to players at a special training session.
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“It was great to get the chance to visit Stirling City All Stars today and I was really impressed with the standard of football,” said Dalglish. “The club has a genuine community feel and it isn’t only the players that make a team but all the inspirational volunteers who give up their free time.
“It’s so important that we recognise and reward the hard work and commitment that all these unsung heroes put in to ensure clubs like Stirling City All Stars continue to thrive, which is why I urge everyone to nominate a local grassroots hero.”
Stirling City All Stars were founded in 2007 due to a lack of provision for recreational football for adults with disabilities in the Stirling and Forth Valley area. Having started with just a single player at the inaugural training session, the club has grown tremendously and now provides football for over 45 adults with disabilities.
The club, which operates as part of Stirling City Football Club and works closely with key partners including Forth Valley Disability Sports, Scottish Disability Sport and Active Stirling, are now celebrated for their work in providing disability football for the region and representing the area at tournaments across the UK.
The spirit of the club is exemplified by inspirational coach Stephen Tortolano, who won the 2016 Scottish FA Football Volunteer of the Year for his work coaching, mentoring and supporting disability players – all after suffering a serious brain injury of his own in a work accident, requiring intensive physio four times a day for eight months.
“Every volunteer that works in our club and across Scotland does it for the love of the game and giving children a chance to play football,” said Tortolano.
“It was an honour to be recognised with the award and attend an event alongside so many talented, committed individuals.
“Winning last year meant so much to me and I had the pleasure of receiving my award from Graeme Souness in front of an amazing crowd containing Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.”
The Scottish FA Grassroots Awards are presented by McDonald’s and the Sunday Mail. Wherever you are in the UK, you can nominate your grassroots football hero for a 2017 Community Award at mcdonalds.co.uk/awards.