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Arbroath FC fan vows to propose if side win league as football boss offers honeymoon at Gayfield

Arbroath fan Kenny with partner Jacqui
Kenny Esslemont will propose to his partner Jacqui Simpson if Abroath FC win the Championship.

Arbroath FC’s dream season may end up with even more of a fairytale ending after a supporter vowed to propose to his partner if the club wins the league.

The Red Lichties may be his first love, but Kenny Esslemont has promised to propose to true love Jacqui Simpson if the club wins the Scottish Championship.

Dick Campbell’s side are currently four points clear at the top of Scotland’s second tier, with the manager’s performance earning him Scottish Championship Manager of the Month for December.

‘She was laughing but over the moon’

Kenny, 39, said Jacqui is delighted with the promise and has suddenly become an eager football fan.

He said: “Jacqui has been asking me for a while. A few of our friends are getting married this year, so she’s always saying, ‘when are you asking me?’.

“After the win Arbroath had there against Raith Rovers, I was sitting, we had a few friends round having a few drinks, and I said, ‘right – if Arbroath win the league, I’ll ask you to marry me’.

Kenny with his partner Jacqui and Jacqui's son Theo (aged 9).
Kenny with his partner Jacqui and Jacqui’s son Theo.

“That was the deal, so we’ll see how it goes. She was laughing but she’s over the moon about it as well.

“She did say, ‘they better win this league now!’

“If they come second, she’ll maybe just have to wait a wee bit longer!”

He also said Jacqui was now paying much more attention to the Red Lichties’ results than she did prior to his promised proposal.

Jacqui taken aback by attention

Jacqui said: “What a laugh it’s been. I can’t believe how much attention it’s got. That’s what happens when you put these things on social media, it’s just escalated and I’ve told him he can’t back out now.

“I’m not really a football fan but I’ve got two boys who are football daft, and since Kenny said that I’ve downloaded an app to keep an eye on the scores.

“As for the honeymoon at Gayfield – I said I’d like to get married on a beach somewhere but Arbroath isn’t quite the exotic location I had in mind!”

Extra motivation for Dick Campbell’s side

Arbroath manager Dick Campbell says the thought of a marriage riding on the club’s success has given them even more ambition to aim for the title.

He has even offered the couple the dream opportunity of a honeymoon at the club’s ground Gayfield if Jacqui accepts.

He said: “With the added pressure and me trying to keep the lid on the kettle with everything this year, keep a low profile, and then I get told Kenny is going to propose if we win the Championship – wow!

“Well, there’s nothing more motivating our players to win the Championship than that, so he can go ahead and tell her there’s a proposal coming and she can accept it – and if she does, they can have their honeymoon at Gayfield.”

Jacqui has admitted she’s not the football fan her partner Kenny is.

Construction worker Kenny and Jacqui, who works in a nursery, have three children; Ellie, 14, Theo, who is eight, and six-year-old Roman.

“The kids are having a good laugh about it too,” said Kenny, who is a native of the Angus town.

“Most of our friends are expecting us to get married at some point anyway so I just thought this would make it a bit more interesting.

We’ve got two big games coming up, against Partick and Kilmarnock. If we win those I’ll better start looking for this engagement ring!”

Kenny Esslemont 

“If we do win the league, I could be missing, partying for a few days celebrating, so she might end up calling the wedding off after that!

“I’ve supported Arbroath since I was a kid; a lifelong fan. I’d jump over the walls and sneak in even to watch the reserve games. But it’s just phenomenal just now.

“I was there at the away games when we were bottom of the Third Division, so to go to this, it’s just a dream come true.

“We’ve got two big games coming up, against Partick and Kilmarnock. If we win those I’ll better start looking for this engagement ring!”

Arbroath boss Dick Campbell wins second Manager of the Month award of the season

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