King Kenny urges people to crown Lenzie Youth Club hero Ian

Photograph Jamie Forbes 16.8.13   LENZIE, Ian Stevenson - Lenzie YC legend.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 16.8.13 LENZIE, Ian Stevenson - Lenzie YC legend.

A legendary community figure has been praised by football hero Kenny Dalglish after being shortlisted for a prestigious SFA award.

Ian Stevenson – the godfather behind Lenzie Youth Club – is up for the National Scottish FA Grassroots Award.

But he needs your votes to help clinch the honour.

Ian (77), who lives in Lenzie, has been involved in football for an incredible 53 years.

McDonald’s head of Scottish football, Kenny Dalglish, said: “I hope the people of Lenzie all show their support and vote for Ian.”

King Kenny added: “Without the energy, enthusiasm and continued dedication of these unsung heroes, grassroots football in so many communities would not be possible.”

Ian is one of three stalwarts shortlisted for the national people’s award, after being named regional winner of the Volunteer of the Year in youth football.

The award gives the public the chance to vote for their local hero.

Ian said: “I’m humbled because there are loads of grassroots coaches who put in time to provide football for kids, so I am lucky to be nominated.

“But I have to say I was delighted when the SFA informed me I was being put forward. It is also great for Lenzie Youth Club.”

He said he is up against “formidable opposition”, which means every vote counts .

In 1960 – at the age of just 24 – Ian, a former youth club worker from Dennistoun, decided to turn his attention to grassroots football.

He went on to found Eastercraigs Youth FC – which nurtured legendary talents such as Tommy Burns, Willie Miller and Jim Leighton.

After 20 years at Eastercraigs Ian moved away from the club and, thanks to some inspiration from his three daughters, decided to set up Lenzie Youth Club in 1980.

Football was quickly introduced and Lenzie YC has gone from strength to strength.

An SFA spokesperson said: “Ian is a pillar of the local community and leads the way in raising the standards of grassroots football through the improvement of facilities and quality of coaching.

“A true grassroots football hero, he has dedicated his life to providing the best possible opportunities for youngsters to enjoy the grassroots game and without Ian, countless numbers of local children wouldn’t have had the chance to spend their youth playing football.

“It is as a result of his hard work that two of the most well known and successful grassroots clubs in the Glasgow region have been established, helping to develop some of Scotland’s top footballing talent.”

Ian introduced football to Lenzie Youth Club soon after it was established and now hundreds of young footballers across 12 age groups enjoy the grassroots game.

The club, like Eastercraigs, soon became well known for producing talent and is responsible for the development of Scotland and Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan, Scotland and Wigan left-back Stephen Crainey and Bolton Wanderers manager and Crystal Palace legend Dougie Freedman.

Visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/awards to cast your vote.

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