In a strange football calendar, summer signings turned into autumnal signings, with the Braves adding more than a few new faces after the league season kicked off.
Corey Pearson, Derek Esplin, and Kieran Hughes have all started at Alliance Park in recent weeks – but there’s one new signing who will be watching on from the sidelines.
He’s not injured or suspended, before you ask. This is all part of his job. Watching on and talking to players and staff alike, away from the pitch, about happenings on and off the grass.
David Ramsay is his name, and he’s the new club chaplain.
“I didn’t know much about the Braves, or the project, when I got the phone call,” David admitted.
“I got a phone call from Mark, who’s the director for sports chaplaincy in Scotland. He mentioned the Braves and the project itself and as he was telling me about, I got really quite excited about it.
“I’ve always loved football but the idea of the local team… and the idea of the way that they were playing, the fact they were now playing in the Lowland League and just how things have gone, I felt it was a good opportunity for me to get involved and really to try and help in whatever way I could.”
David grew up in the east end of Glasgow before working for British Gas and the Scottish government throughout his career. He had a career in amateur football too, both playing and coaching. Now, he has returned west, residing in Larkhall and looking after a church just a few minutes away from Alliance Park.
“It’s a little bit of a different club because of the different supporters online - I downloaded the app as well myself as I was learning a little bit more about the club,” David was quick to add.
“The main thing for me is to be able to help, more about the stuff off the park. It’s less about football, although I love football.
“They’ve got Ricky [Waddell, first team manager] and many others, the support team around him, to be able to focus on the football side of things. The way I can help is in some of the struggles the guys would have off the park - if life’s a wee bit tough.
“We know how important mental health is at the moment for everyone. I can maybe help a little with mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It’s being able to chat about stuff that might be affecting what’s going on, on the park, but it’s also about helping to support and encourage with the off the park stuff.”
It’s easy to acknowledge that 2020 has been a tough year for everyone. Thankfully, mental health has been at the forefront of conversations when it comes to dealing with lockdowns, isolation periods, or quarantines.
“It’s always been important, but it’s something that we haven’t talked a lot about or it wasn’t as popular to speak about,” David told BravesTV.
“It’s great to see over recent years that people are more happy to talk about mental health and some of the challenges they face, but it’s being able to do that in a football context and recognizing that we care about people.
“That’s one of the reasons I got involved. I care about people. This gives me the opportunity to care and share in a way that will hopefully help, but help the lads as people, and the staff too.
“It’s not just about the playing team, the Braves is a bit of a family. Being able to be part of that family, and being able to help that family, is what I’m enjoying doing.”