Secondary school pupils from Dumfries Secondary School got the Total Football experience at Scotland’s National Stadium.
The S2 students, as part of their weekly curriculum, are involved with Greystone Rovers Youth Football Club’s School of Football – an initiative supported by the Dumfries youth team’s charity foundation.
Part of the remit is to promote the benefits of reading – with the pupils recently enjoying Dutch legend Johan Cruyff’s autobiography ‘My Turn’.
Most young players are encouraged to try and master Cruyff’s signature move but the kids were keen to learn even more about the man who played such an integral in shaping not only a country, but the principles of Barcelona.
The pupils sent a copy to Hampden for Scottish FA Coach Education Manager Greig Paterson, who also devoured the book from cover to cover before inviting them to Hampden Park so they could discuss what is a critically-acclaimed read.
Dumfries High School PE teacher, Ben Smith said: “This was a great experience – not just a day out at Hampden.
“It showed that playing sport is about more than just ensuring young people are healthy and happy.
“Sport – in this case football – is also great for helping children develop literacy skills, communication skills and to help improve their vocabulary, which can make a big difference in helping young people reach their goals.”
Greig Paterson added: “It was great to meet the children at Hampden. They were so enthusiastic in telling me all they’d taken from the book, what they liked about it, their thoughts and reflections.
“It was a wonderful way of demonstrating the power football can have in increasing literacy skills in children.
“I was delighted to help out when Graeme Muir, the Greystone Foundation Charity Manager, asked me to do so, particularly as I’d spent a few years in Dumfries and Galloway as the Football Development Officer.
“It was a great initiative. I was then asked what book they should read next so it’s definitely something we’ll look to do again and build on.”