Forres Mechanics Youth Development Coach Duncan Simpson Retires After 25 Years

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Duncan’s last game – Forres Mechanics beat Dingwall 2-1 at Sanquhar.

A POPULAR coach has retired from football after devoting more than a quarter of a century to improving young homegrown players.

Duncan Simpson (56) from Pilmuir is spending more time with his family, but his son Keith (35) stays behind to help the Forres Mechanics Youth Development U14 team.

Duncan said: “It’s probably time. I’m a grandfather now and I’m not getting any younger.

Keith added: “Dad is proud of the progress of the group he has coached over the past three years since he was 13. It is a pride to end his coaching career.

Duncan began coaching at age 27, coaching the Pilmuir Primary School team.

He was then asked to coach Keith’s Forres Area Soccer Sevens team when his son was 12.

After two years, the club that Duncan had supported for as long as he could remember, sought his services.

He said: “I was thrilled. I remember Mechanics being the first team in the league to have a player of another ethnicity – a little Russian boy.

From there he worked on and off with the club for over 25 years, while raising a family and working as a school janitor.

Duncan (left) leads the line at Forres Thistle, along with his brother Callum, and sons Keith, Finlay and Kyle who plays for Mechanics U16s.
Duncan (left) leads the line at Forres Thistle, along with his brother Callum, and sons Keith, Finlay and Kyle who plays for Mechanics U16s.

Keith recalls: “Dad thought it would be a good idea to attend Forres Academy Sports Day in 2019. While playing football he collided with a young boy and broke his knee in three places, but he still showed up at Mechanics pre-season and continued to coach the guys that year.

He added: “Dad spent much of his time training at Forres, ranging from lessons in Glasgow to spending Sundays on buses traveling to Wick and Fort William for away games.

“He wanted to help young players progress, so his proudest moments were seeing them in the first team. Ross McPherson, Chris Hardie and Stuart Finlayson were among those who did.

Minister of Probation and Forres Mechanics Chaplain Rev. Stuart Finlayson (38) appreciated Duncan’s help and advice.

He said: “I played my first game for the U13 team about 25 years ago and I remember Duncan was there then. He was still in front but encouraged us. I am very grateful for his commitment because without him we would not have had the opportunity we had.

“Thank you Duncan for your time and passion for the beautiful game at Forres for so many years.”

Duncan (left) pictured with Mechanical Youth Development Manager Allan Frisken.
Duncan (left) pictured with Mechanical Youth Development Manager Allan Frisken.

Forres Mechanics youth development co-ordinator Dave McCartney has confirmed that over the past decade Duncan has mainly taken on the U13s – the youngest group until the U12 section was launched last year .

He said: “Duncan is dedicated and reliable. He has held Scottish Football Association coaching badges up to Tier 3.

“He will be missed but has a great successor in Keith, who has been his training partner for the past two years and will continue next season.

“A big thank you to Duncan for his excellent service over the years and we wish him well in retirement. We will miss him.”

Duncan is a life member of Forres Mechanics and also served on the committee as a youth.

And his advice to anyone considering coaching young players?

“Go ahead,” he said. “It takes a lot of time and dedication, but it’s hugely rewarding.”


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