Paul Reid turned off the lights on his way out of Tannadice last week after bringing the curtain down on 22 years at Dundee United with an emotional solo walk on the pitch.
But while his memories of over two decades at United will never leave him, Reid is already looking forward to a bright future as Arbroath’s first ever commercial director.
The former Arbroath youth star gave up his dream of playing the game at 17 when he realised his talents in other areas could take him to the top.
A hugely popular after dinner speaker, Reid turned down a one-year deal at Arbroath after being offered a gig with BBC’s Only An Excuse.
He then started out at United under Tannadice legend Jim McLean and worked his way up to lead the club’s commercial department.
Tomorrow we say cheerio to our long time colleague and friend who leaves for pastures new.
Good luck and Thank You Paul 🟠⚫️
He will always be welcome at Tannadice.https://t.co/cx6yWmbvIJ
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) October 29, 2021
During the last two decades, Reid has worked with 15 MANAGERS, from Paul Sturrock to Tam Courts.
He also sat on the bench as assistant manager of United once himself – for best pal Sean Dillon’s testimonial.
Paul Reid: 22 special years at Tannadice
It’s little wonder that there was a major outpouring of love for Reid amongst fans and on social media as he did a lap of honour at Tannadice before last week’s clash with St Johnstone.
“I was the last to leave on Friday night,” said Reid. “It was a conscious decision.
“When the stadium was empty I walked around the pitch, remembering ghosts from the past and things that happened there.
“On Saturday, I was overwhelmed. There were so many messages from fans, sponsors, players, ex-players, managers, chairmen.
“Since I joined United I’ve been married and had kids. So many milestones have happened during my time at the club.
“I was never good enough to play for Dundee United but to be given that kind of send-off with my wife, kids and mum and dad in the ground was incredible.
“There were hundreds of messages on social media and I’ve read every single one. My wife has printed them off and we are going to keep them in a book.
“It’s the final cap on my career at Tannadice. It’s much better than: ‘Good riddance, close the door on your way out!'”
Paul Reid: Ambitious plans for Arbroath
As one door closes, another one opens.
Already close friends with Arbroath boss Dick Campbell – who he did his first ever after dinner speech alongside as a teenager – Reid can’t wait to get started in his new role at Gayfield on Monday.
And he couldn’t have picked a better time to join Arbroath.
The Angus side are third in the Scottish Championship and enjoying record season ticket sales of just under 1,000.
Commercially, the club is on a strong financial footing and Arbroath FC Community Trust has in excess of 500 members, including over 200 Young Lichties season ticket holders.
We have an incredible spirit in our dressing room with our loan players made to feel at home.@OfficialNoubz is a talented player, but what a gent off the pitch. After the game he spent 10-15 minutes posing with every single young fan for a selfie even giving away his shinnies ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BxX8dDIFma
— Arbroath FC (@ArbroathFC) September 12, 2021
Over 1,000 fans purchased a brick in the Arbroath Supporters Wall, prompting an second sales window.
And Arbroath have invested a near six-figure sum in enhanced stadium facilities and expanded hospitality.
“What they have already achieved here is incredible,” said Reid. “I’m coming into a well-oiled machine and the club is already in a brilliant position.
“You can see that from the way the team is performing on and off the park.
“Community-wise it’s also going from strength-to-strength and that’s a key area for me.
Young Lichties hold key to Arbroath’s future
Well, the fan zones are a hit! Here's a video DLR Media (thanks!) created of the first one ⚽ Next is Arbroath v Kilmarnock in a Friday Night Fan Zone on the 24th of September. We have so many surprises for this one, don't miss it 😁 pic.twitter.com/kG6m6Z2nwm
— Arbroath FC Community Trust (@ArbroathFCTrust) September 16, 2021
“I want to immerse myself in the town and help us to continue attracting the next generation of Young Lichties.
“Whether they want to be the next Bobby Linn or next Dick Campbell we want them here.
“We have a strong brand and want to build that brand.
“Revenue is massive in football and clubs live and die by it but we also want to look to the future.
“We want to make sure kids are running about the town with Arbroath kits on instead of Real Madrid or PSG.
“Having someone like Dick Campbell as manager is massive.
“I’ve known him for over 20 years and he’s someone who will tell you the truth when things aren’t right.
“He’s infectious and I want to give him the tools to keep on achieving.
“I can’t wait to work with Dick Campbell professionally. If it’s half as a good as knowing him on a personal level then it will be a great ride.”
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