Michael Alexander speaks to Cupar-based YouTuber and Motherwell FC fanatic Gordon Bonnes about his growing online following.
It is the online video sharing service used by an estimated 1,300,000,000 worldwide, watched by eight-out-of-10 18-49 year-olds every month, and sees 300 hours of video uploaded every minute.
Recent research even suggested that the average teenager now watches more YouTube than they do broadcast TV, with some YouTube stars enjoying millions of subscribers.
Cupar teenager Gordon Bonnes hasn’t quite reached the millions of followers stage – yet – since setting up his own YouTube channel five years ago.
But the 19-year-old former Castlehill Primary and Bell Baxter High School pupil, who operates with the handle Goggsy99, has attracted a ‘cult’ following of 4900 subscribers after posting more than 1000 videos from his bedroom centred mainly around his “fanaticism” for Motherwell FC.
His growing reputation recently saw a film crew follow him from Cupar railway station to a game versus St Johnstone in Motherwell.
And he was also recently invited to interview Clyde FC chairman Norrie Innes after the club was impressed by his work.
“When I started off for fun about five years ago, one of the first videos I posted that really caught peoples’ attention was when I discovered my hamster Hermione was dead!” explains Gordon, who is studying for an HND in Radio at Fife College, and who has ambitions to pursue a football broadcasting career.
“I used to do a Q&A Tuesday where I basically got asked all these questions by people at my school, and it was during one of those that I found her dead! That was the beginning really. People took the Mick out of me for about three years – but it spurred me on!”
Gordon, whose parents support Motherwell FC and whose uncle Mark is the club doctor, admits it took a while for him to live the hamster video down.
But his notoriety took a change of direction last year when another of his videos “boomed” online.
After Motherwell were beaten 2-1 by Rangers in the Scottish Cup, he felt like his “heart had been ripped out” and posted an “honest” reaction of how he felt.
“It sort of spiralled out of control from there,” he laughs now. “Let’s just say a lot of Rangers fans picked up on it! Some said ‘fair play for showing your passion’. Others were more negative.”
It wasn’t the first time Gordon had felt the wrath of the Ibrox faithful.
In the 2015 Scottish Premiership play-offs when Motherwell beat Rangers 6-1 on aggregate, the former Cupar Soccer 7s player, who is actually a qualified youth football referee, was seen in the background of BT Sport footage cheekily waving a red card at the referee.
It appeared on various football forums and following the 2017 Scottish Cup game, some Rangers fans realised it was him – leading to more ‘feedback’ and more subscribers!
The greatest number of hits he’s ever had on a single post, however, followed a league game with Partick Thistle at Firhill when he filmed Motherwell fans singing their anthem Since I was Young and doing the famous Viking handclap. That video alone has since had around 50,000 hits.
“I do on the whole get more good feedback than bad feedback,” adds Gordon, who has also interviewed the likes of sports pundits Tam Cowan and Jim Spence.
“I’m a Motherwell FC fan. But I don’t just do Motherwell games. Last week, for example, I went to Dundee United v Dunfermline.
“I really do it for the love of the game. I have big plans for the future if everything works out. I want to travel the world doing football.”
*Gordon is taking part in a charity football match at Ochilview on Sunday August 19 (3pm k.o.) between Scottish YouTubers and an over-35s Stenhousemuir fans team. All proceeds will go towards the mental health charity SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health).
For ticket information go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-youtubers-charity-football-match-tickets-46519883223