When amputee footballer and Dundee United fan Tommy McKay stunned Tannadice with a one-legged lob during a half-time challenge in 2016, he sparked a huge surge in interest in the sport of amputee football.
Video footage of Tommy’s wonder goal went viral, and catapulted the Amputee Football Association Scotland (AFAS) into the limelight.
Three years on and amputee football was back at Tannadice this weekend, in the hope of finally launching a new national amputee league.
The Tangerines held their first amputee training session of the season yesterday, with players from across Scotland taking part in the event.
One of those players was Rob Wilson, 30, from Happyhillock.
Rob, who works in Dundee’s BT call centre, said: “I lost my foot when I was a couple of months old.
“I had what was called a club foot and there was no operation back then to fix it, so the doctors had a conversation with my parents and the best case scenario was to amputate.
“But I played football all my days at school for St Luke’s and I have played fives.
“I was at United’s first session about two years ago and, being a United supporter, I am delighted to be involved.
“The ultimate aim is to get a league going in Scotland. There is a league in England and the Irish have one, too, so we want to get a few competitive teams going and then build a league.
“It would be great if we could get a league and a cup competition going.”
Ashley Reid, chief executive and founder of AFAS, said: “Since the taster session with Dundee United Community Trust last year, we’ve focused our efforts on taking the sport to other clubs across the country, hosting taster sessions at a number of clubs clubs including Motherwell and Spartans plus holding the first ever Amputee Football Scottish Cup.
“Amputee football is still a relatively new discipline in Scotland, so to see our player numbers grow so rapidly is testament to the demand that exists for the sport.
“Since Tommy McKay’s goal, the charity has hosted training sessions at clubs including Partick Thistle, Spartans and Motherwell.
“In June 2018, AFAS hosted the inaugural Amputee Football Scottish Cup where Dundee United clashed with Partick Thistle, only to lose by a goal.
“However, we’d love to see more players coming forward to try amputee football.
“Ultimately, AFAS wants to continue to develop teams at clubs across Scotland with a view to eventually building a Scottish amputee football league,” he went on.
“It’s great that we are endorsed by the Scottish Football Association and enjoyed the backing of Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, who has on occasion dropped in to take training with Partick Thistle amputees in Glasgow.
“We have a national amputee football squad and taken them to play England, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Holland – with varying degrees of success.”
For more information, visit www.amputeefootballscotland.co.uk or contact Ashley Reid at AFAS.