Ayr Football Club Valspar FC has been recognised for its valuable contribution to grassroots football.

Chairman Ken Nairn along with President and Founder Jim Gourlay were presented with the Scottish FA Quality Mark Award at Belmont Academy on Wednesday night.

The Award, part of the Quality Mark Accreditation Scheme run by the Scottish FA in partnership with McDonald’s and sportscotland, recognises pro-active clubs and schools working to increase youth and community participation.

Clubs and schools receive the award after meeting standards in areas such as coach and player development, management, administration, welfare and planning.

Valspar began in 1976 when Jim Gourlay and Johnny Hubbard started a team from boys who played at the sports nights at the old Dam Park Hall that Johnny organised. One of the biggest mysteries is where does the Valspar name come from. Jim Gourlay was a Liverpool scout for 27 years. As a gesture to the club scout Liverpool organised their club sponsor, Valspar Paints, to provide strips for the original teams and the team was named Valspar in recognition of this.

From humble beginnings the club grew and by the end of the 1980’s could boast Scottish Cup winners and competitive teams in all age groups, something that continues to this day. Over the years many players have moved from Valspar into the professional ranks.

Ken Nairn from the club said: “2011 has been a great year for the club. With ex Valspar players Kirk Broadfoot and Paul Burns playing in the SPL it shows that there are opportunities to enjoy football and progress in well run local clubs. This years focus on gaining Quality Mark for the club saw over 30 SFA coaching certificates awarded to the coaches. Intent on not standing still we will have at least one coach from every team go through their Level 3 qualifications in the next 12 months. This not only ensures that we are able to progress to the Quality Mark Development category it allows the players within the club to benefit from excellent coaching within an ambitious club.”

Scottish FA Club Development Manager John Brown said:

“ Like all people who grew up involved in Ayrshire football I have known about Valspar for decades and I am particularly pleased to see them receive credit for the years of hard work that they have put into the game. My Brother Hugh actually played in the very first Valspar team and I had a season there after my Prestwick team folded. Coaches like Jim Gourlay, Johhny Hubbard and Robert Glendinning have all had a massive influence on the production of good football players over the years. The current crop of coaches is following in their footsteps and with Ken Nairn at the helm the future of the club is in good hands. Well done to all of the Committee, coaches, parents and players who make up the Valspar family!”

There are three Quality Mark categories - Standard, Development, and Community. So far more than 250 clubs and schools have achieved accreditation over the three categories, and over 4,000 coaches have benefited from coach education and first aid training.

McDonald’s, Scottish FA’s community partner since 2002, will help to attract 13,000 new volunteers and 10,000 new coaches by 2014, as well as supporting 600 clubs and 52,000 players through new and existing football networks.

Through Quality Mark, McDonald’s and the Scottish FA aim to provide support to grassroots clubs and schools across Scotland as they strive to broaden youth and community participation and to enhance player, coach and volunteer development. 
sportscotland is a key partner in the delivery of youth football programmes, investing over £1m per year in activities including employment of club development staff, discounted coach education and training for volunteers.
For further information on the Scottish FA Quality Mark programme, please visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/footballdevelopment