Thurso firefighters hope charity match against Rangers Legends will give community something to look forward to
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Plans are in place for a showpiece fundraising match this summer between Thurso firefighters and a team of ex-Rangers stars – Covid-19 permitting.
The match is scheduled for Saturday, August 7, to be followed by a sportsman's dinner and charity auction. Funds will be used to buy life-saving defibrillators as well as helping local charities.
Organisers have secured sponsorship from local businesses and are hopeful that the coronavirus restrictions will have eased enough to allow the match and the evening function to go ahead.
The Rangers Legends squad will feature big-name former players such as Gordon Durie, Michael Mols and Nacho Novo.
Firefighters Brian Davidson, David Bain and Karl Drummond from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assembled a nine-strong organising committee and have enlisted the services of a former Wick Academy manager to help get them in shape.
Brian said: “It has come together really well. We've managed to get all our sponsors.”
“Obviously everything is Covid-dependent but we are planning for it to go ahead, and the committee and I want to give the community something to look forward to.
“Hopefully with the vaccines that are coming out, it settles down enough that we can get these boys up and we can have our football and our sportsman's dinner and we can raise money for some charities.”
Main sponsors are CS Drilling Services, Eric Gunn Driver Training and Autoquip of Wick, along with a full set of individual player sponsors. “Instead of having our names on the back of the strips we're going to have company logos to promote businesses in the community and to thank them for helping us out,” Brian explained.
The game will be played at the Dammies, with the dinner to follow at the Weigh Inn.
Rangers Legends, managed by Stan Gordon, will feature Roy Carroll, Marvin Andrews, Colin Hendry, Bob Malcolm, Alex Rae, Derek Ferguson, Charlie Miller, Nacho Novo, Michael Mols, Andy Little, Gordon Durie and John MacDonald and it is also hoped Marco Negri will be able to come over from Italy to take part.
Ex-Wick Academy manager Alistair Budge will be coaching the fire station team.
"Alistair will be putting us through our paces hopefully in March to get rid of all the bellies and get us fitter. Alistair is looking forward to it," Brian said.
“Stan Gordon has been superb and has helped so much.”
Items in the charity auction include a painting of Karl-Heinz Riedle by local artist Davie Greig which has been signed by the German internationalist who scored twice for Borussia Dortmund in their 1997 Champions League final win against Juventus.
Brian added: “Charlie Miller and former Celtic player Alan Thompson have both agreed to become ambassadors for the fire station, so if we're doing any charity events, car washes or anything else they're kindly going to lend their names to it and maybe give us some signed memorabilia that we can sell or auction. It's really good from the both of them – we're very proud of that.”
In 2019, the Thurso firefighters took part in a challenge match against RNLI crew members and also held an auction of sporting memorabilia. Money from donations, the auction, a raffle, a barbecue, baking stalls and other sources amounted to more than £10,000 to buy defibrillators and to support local charities.
Meanwhile, Brian had an important point to make about his own footballing allegiance.
“It's crazy,” he said. “I've been putting this together with help from a few of the boys at the station, and contacting all these players and speaking to them all, and they all think I'm a Rangers supporter... I'm actually a Celtic supporter!”