Stroke victim Neil to step down from the Gayfield gantry

Neil at Hampden.
Neil at Hampden.

Arbroath FC club stalwart Neil Douglas is stepping down from the gantry to focus on making a full recovery from a stroke.

Popular Neil was working in his regular volunteer videographer role at Gayfield when he fell ill during a March home game against East Fife.

Since then, the 47-year-old has shown great determination in his recovery and is now back home from hospital and reunited with his wife Natasha.

Neil’s stroke happened as Dick Campbell’s men were in the final stages of their title season and he got his hands on the League One trophy when club captain Mark Whatley dropped in to Dundee’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

Gayfield Park, Arbroath.

In recognition of his services as a volunteer to Arbroath FC, Neil was awarded the John Christison Community Services Trophy which was picked up by his wife Natasha at the end of season awards.

Despite not being in the TV gantry next season, Arbroath chairman Mike Caird has set Neil the challenge of being in the boardroom for the first game of the season when the league flag will be raised over Gayfield Park.

A spokesman for Arbroath FC said: “The positive news is that Neil is now home from hospital and reunited with his wife Natasha and is making remarkable progress in his recovery from such a life changing event.

“Neil has shown incredible determination and fight in his rehabilitation and now makes daily visits to hospital for physiotherapy but is back in the comfort of his own home every night.

“It’s important that Neil puts all his efforts into making a full recovery and so Neil has decided to take early retirement from videography and hang up his football boots and video camera.

“We know how passionate Neil is for Arbroath Football Club and for videography and he has our full support and gratitude.

“Arbroath Football Club would like to thank Neil Douglas for the dedication and time he has given not only us as a football club, but to the hundreds and thousands of supporters out there who have enjoyed his videos and interviews all over the world.”

Neil would film the matches and stay behind afterwards for post-match interviews before sitting behind a computer screen for several hours to seamlessly edit  the footage, create graphics and then upload the footage before sharing it on social media.

Neil’s YouTube channel has had over 300,000 views and contains hundreds of uploaded videos since he began in the summer of 2016.

The club is now seeking a motived volunteer videographer to join the club for the second tier campaign in the Ladbrokes Championship.

A club spokesman said: “We fully appreciate that we are looking for someone who is a highly skilled individual and who can take on the position as a volunteer.

“This is a big ask in any walk of life but as a part-time football club we wouldn’t be where we are without our volunteers as part of our football team.

“We have been very fortunate in the past with Neil and our previous videographers but if you are passionate about football and this appeals we would love to hear from you.”

People should contact arbroathfc@outlook.com.

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