Welcome to the Gavin Strachan blog
Hi, my name is Gavin Strachan. I'm a 29-year-old married father-of-three and I have been a professional footballer for nearly 13 years.
I started my career at Coventry City and spent roughly eight years there, which included two spells on loan north of the border at Dundee and Motherwell. I then had a short stint at Southend United preceding a three-and-a-half-season spell at Hartlepool United, with a few loan appearances at Stockport. My next port of call was a season at Peterborough United before ending up at my current club, Notts County. Oh, I nearly forgot, I have eight Scotland under-21 caps (seems such a long time ago).
Phew! Glad to get that introduction out of the way. In short, I am a journeyman footballer who thoroughly enjoys the job he has. I would like to say it has been a rollercoaster ride but in all honesty it has been more of a steady decline!
I have been lucky enough to play at every level of the game albeit only a couple of substitute appearances in the Championship for the statisticians of you out there.
Hopefully this experience in the game will help me to produce an entertaining blog over the weeks and months ahead.
The aim of the blog will be to give you a slightly different view of the life a footballer leads; a more intimate view if you like.
I feel sorry at times for the Premier League players who try to write columns and blogs. Through no real fault of their own the end product is often a somewhat bland, tepid affair which only barely scratches the surface of the issues that you - as the fan - want to find out about.
The problem they have is the fear that anything they say could be taken out of context. Anything they write is closely scrutinised by the ever-increasing number of media people that a top club employs or they are simply not allowed to do the piece in the first place.
So how have I ended up writing this blog? Well, I'd come to that time in my career that every lower league footballer dreads. The time when you realise that the plan of earning enough money from football to never work again has gone completely wrong and that at some time in the not so distant future you are going to have to go out into the big bad world in order to put food on the table.
Joking aside, it is a pretty scary thought. So I decided to enrol for a degree in professional sports writing and broadcasting at Stafford University which is run by Lawrie Madden (formerly of Sheffield Wednesday). It is a two-year course and I am currently halfway through it. The most high profile of the players to have come through the course is Scott Minto who has been appearing on a lot of media outlets.
It's been pretty daunting to be honest. I have not been in a classroom since I was 16 so to get back into it and then be studying for a law exam (so I don't libel anybody) within two weeks of the start of the course was a shock to the system and as for the shorthand...wow!
The good thing is that I am not alone in my predicament. It is a course specifically run for sports people and primarily footballers. In my year there are Jason Lee, Ben Burgess, Paul Hall, Barry Roche, Felix Bastians and Will Smith, the cricketer who plays for Durham.
There were quite a lot more who initially started the course but the demands in terms of workload and actually attending the University are high (especially for us footballers) so some boys dropped out quite early on.
To give you an idea, it is 3pm to 9pm on a Monday and Thursday. So on some days I leave my house at 7.30am and don't get home till 10pm to a rather irate wife who has been dealing with the kids all day. Living the dream!
I know, I can hear the violins playing. It's not meant to be a sob story. I enjoy it and it needs to be done but maybe I can go some way to dispel the generalisation that all of us footballers are showered and home by mid-day.
So hopefully you know me a bit better now. In the next few weeks we will be trying to set something up whereby you can get in touch with me with any questions or topics for discussion.