Page 28 - ONSIDE Issue 29

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I’m 47 and last year I retired from the Royal Air
Force after a highly rewarding 28 years, during
which I worked with some great people in some
highly challenging environments. I am now having a
bit of time off to realise a few ambitions and have
just got my pilots licence.
I am originally from Frimley in Surrey but I spent
14 years of my RAF career at RAF Boulmer in
the village of Longhoughton on the beautiful
Nor thumberland coast – my family love it here,
so we decided to stay!
I am married to the lovely Pam (who is from
Boddam, a small village south of Peterhead)
and I have two boys Matthew (18) and
Andrew (15).
I have always loved spor t and specifically football,
playing competitively until I was about 40. I had
set up a men’s Sunday League football team in the
1980s at Boulmer for RAF guys to go out into the
community and play local sides.
When we returned to Boulmer in 2004, my boys
joined a newly established club, Longhoughton
Rangers. Rangers was set up in 2002 by Carl and
Julie Beattie who have become great friends and
are still involved with the club to this day. It was a
well-run and typical rural club with about 30 kids
playing in three 7 a-side teams in the local league.
Carl was posted within three months of my arrival
and somehow, they twisted my arm into becoming
the new Chairman. It was clear that there was a
huge untapped demand for more to do in the
local area for both RAF and civilian families – and
football was a popular choice!
As a result, our small but highly enthusiastic
committee embarked upon a plan to expand the
club by recruiting and training new volunteers
whilst seeking funding for both training and
new equipment.
We engaged the Nor thumberland FA, who gave
us a huge amount of encouragement and advice;
the Parish Council who were highly suppor tive
and already supplied us with a grass pitch free of
charge; the Alnwick Spor ts Development Council
who were able to fund some of our training; and
the Foundation who supplied us with kit. Fur ther,
our rural village was perfect for networking and
nights in the pub turned up an increasing number
of generous local businessmen willing to sponsor
our teams.
Our first step was to ensure that we had a
safe and fun environment for the kids to enjoy
their football, so we organised an FA Level 1
football coaching course, where we qualified
14 new coaches.
By putting quality coaching in place and by being
very inclusive from the outset, to include players
of all abilities, we star ted attracting increasing
numbers of boys and girls from an ever expanding
catchment area.
Numbers soon went from 30 to 100, putting
an enormous strain on our single pitch.Winter
training was hugely challenging with very limited
local facilities and we were often limited to training
for tnightly in the winter months in local spor ts
halls and schools.
An incredible story of
success in the North East
Paul Kiddell, Chairman of Longhoughton Rangers FC,
describes how the club went from ad hoc kickabouts
on a field, to a 200-strong FA Club of theYear, with a
new multi-million facility that links with the Newcastle
United Academy.
| The Football Foundation Magazine | Issue 29