Last Tuesday evening I was doing something rather unusual. I was in Scotland, queuing to get into a Brechin City football match (you know Brechin, that well-known mecca of British Football!).
Now for those of you who do know about British football, you’ll understand that Brechin’s usual crowd is around 500 people and there’s no need to queue! And yet I was lining up with all these people. Why? One of the reasons was the standard of the opposition – Aberdeen had come down to test out the local boys. However, there was a much more important reason for us to be there. This was no ordinary match – it was a memorial match for David Will, CBE, a former Chairman of the club who died an untimely death due to cancer in September 2009.
That night, the dedication of one of the stands in his honour means that he will always be remembered in Brechin. However, he will be remembered far beyond Brechin. He was not only highly respected as a world ambassador for British football, but he was also respected far beyond the game, meeting world figures such as Pope John Paul II, HM the Queen and Nelson Mandela.
So what led him to this? Well, he initially became involved in the administration and legislation of the game, starting at club level, rising to be President of the Scottish FA, then UEFA and finally Vice President of FIFA for 17 years. This happened principally because of his professional expertise as a lawyer but really because of his knowledge and passion for the game of football. However, if you add to that the personal qualities (which those who worked alongside him remember him for) you have a measure of the man.
Ernie Walker – Former Scottish Football Association pays tribute: “That he was highly intelligent, a gifted legislator with a strong sense of leadership, and had a great love of the game goes without saying. It was however, his other human qualities of compassion, generosity, a great sense of humour and, perhaps most importantly of all, his absolutely unbreakable sense of integrity, which will last in the minds of those who were fortunate to know him”.
I count myself fortunate to have known David – he was our family lawyer and friend for many years. I also count myself fortunate to have been at the memorial match; an occasion when I could reflect on his outstanding personal qualities and ask myself some searching questions about my legacy and contribution to others. What do I want to be remembered for? Which of David’s qualities could I adopt? Having read this, perhaps you could ask yourself the same questions; what qualities do you want to be remembered for and what would you like your legacy to be?
P.S Final score at full time : Brechin 2:2Aberdeen! Result!