Danny Denholm column: Virtual stags, cancelled weddings & trying to teach


Danny Denholm plays for East Fife in League One, having helped Arbroath win that division last season. The 29-year-old winger combines playing part-time with his job as a PE teacher in Dunfermline, and was previously a full-time footballer with Livingston before dropping down the divisions. Here, he explains what life has been like over the past week or two...

Covid-19 might be wreaking havoc around the world, but it seems it is not strong enough to destroy the fine system in a football dressing room.

I'm currently down £20 for having a "lack of product" in my hair during a TV interview. Aaron Dunsmore has been punished for sharing "inappropriate videos". And we're considering taking £200 off Brett Long for hoarding toilet roll.

Discussions are ongoing about the value of fine for any individual who posts themselves doing the toilet roll challenge on their social media. We haven't quite approached the level where photos of players' body hair are being measured but I do fear it's just around the corner.

Joking aside, our WhatsApp group does serve a wider purpose. Firstly, it has acted as a welcome distraction in which we all poke fun at each other as we would have previously done in the confines of the changing room.

More importantly, it has been a great means to convey information from the directors via management and our club captain. The uncertainty has caused anxiety throughout the country, however the main message we are getting is that the club are doing everything they can to honour our contracts.

In a time when several boys have lost their jobs and been made redundant, these assurances offer the security that we all crave. It shows how well run a club East Fife are and we owe a huge amount of gratitude to the chairman and directors.

Gin and tonic & dirty money

We are also lucky to have a team-mate, Chris Higgins, who works for PFA Scotland and he just happens to be the busiest man on earth.

He has given us workouts suited to keeping up with the demands of professional football. On first viewing, these looked extremely tough but probably light work for Higgins, who even goes to the gym on Christmas Day.

I've been keeping up with these sessions in sparsely-populated areas such as the back of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh with former team-mate and current Arbroath player David Gold. Social distancing has been at the forefront of our minds, but in most cases there appears to be a 100m gap between us as I chase him up the hill breathing out my backside.


In more upsetting personal news, I was due to get married in two weeks and sadly we have had to push that back to August. But possibly more upsetting was the decision to cancel my stag do.

We had booked Dublin but, for obvious reasons, we called that off and decided on the contingency of renting an apartment and having a self-isolated one. But again, more up-to-date guidelines meant this would have been an irresponsible choice.

So I had to settle for a solo virtual stag night consisting of gin and tonic and Dirty Money on Netflix. Nothing gets me more pent up and heated than the injustices of white-collar crime in America when I'm three gins to the wind.

It wasn't ideal but, again, a bit of perspective is required. I'm pushing back a party; people are out there losing jobs, losing money and possibly losing loved ones if we don't behave responsibly.

'Have I taught my last class this year?'

In my day job, I'm a PE teacher at a primary school and last week I may have taught my regular lessons to the kids for the final time before the summer holidays.

It was a strange week. Despite repeatedly telling the children to wash their hands, I probably should have been clearer about not putting equipment in their mouth. I spent hours disinfecting everything - more time than I had bargained for.

But in all seriousness, the reason most people go into this line of work is because they love working with children. I am going to miss the positivity, joy and humour they bring to my day.

We are technically classed as emergency workers so we will still be in at school in some capacity, but we don't quite have clarity on what that will actually look like. Regardless, I feel a sense of pride and purpose that I can help and contribute during this time.

Football offers people a distraction, can help with mental health and I will certainly miss it over this prolonged period. But at times like these, it isn't really important is it?

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