Davie Irons: Stenhousemuir in the community, waiving wages and police patrol

By Stephen CouseBBC Sport Scotland
Davie Irons
Stenhousemuir manager Davie Irons has waived his wages to help "safeguard the future of the club"

Stenhousemuir manager Davie Irons should be preparing his team to face a Brechin City side fighting for their survival in League Two this weekend.

Instead, he is solely focused on his day job as policeman, ready to enforce the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus crisis.

Irons speaks to BBC Scotland about his and assistant Kevin McGoldrick's decision to waive their wages entirely during this period of uncertainty, Stenhousemuir leading the way in their community and his experience as an officer of the law during the outbreak.

Patrolling in a 'parallel universe'

"My mum lived through the Second World War and at least then you could see the enemy, the planes, the bombs falling," said the 58-year-old. "Now it's like a parallel universe."

The streets Davie Irons patrols in the Annandale area are hardly teeming with people under normal circumstances, but the atmosphere of the near-deserted area is one he is still struggling to get his head around.

There has been criticism of how some police forces in England have handled restrictions on public movement.

However, Irons and his Police Scotland colleagues hope people understand the community-based approach they are employing to try to limit the impact of the virus.

"It's something I hope we never experience again", he told BBC Scotland. "It's not just small pockets - everybody in society has been affected.

"I hope the public look on it and see that everybody is affected by it - police officers, teachers, doctors, and it's for everybody's sake that we're asking instructions are taken on board. If people aren't prepared to listen then more people are going to suffer.

"I think most police officers though are going to educate first and engage with the people. But if people aren't going to listen we have to go to the next stage to try and enforce it."

Safeguarding Stenny

Every club in Scotland is facing financial uncertainty, from top to bottom.

Irons and McGoldrick took immediate steps to ease the financial pressure on Stenhousemuir, both waiving their part-time salaries entirely.

"Morally we felt it was right," he said. "It might be a drop in the ocean financially long-term, but we just felt it was the right thing to do.

"There's not a penny coming into Stenny at the moment - so how could I expect to be paid when they have no source of income whatsoever?

"The people in full-time at the club, it's their livelihood that is at stake here, and if we can help to safeguard them in any way we wanted to do that."

Stenhousemuir have been running a community initiative to help out those in need
Stenhousemuir have been running a community initiative to help out those in need

Despite having plenty to worry about themselves, the League Two side has been active in the community since the start of the outbreak.

Delivering groceries and walking dogs are a couple of the ways over 80 club volunteers have been helping the locals.

"So much is going on within the community that Stenhousemuir as a club have a big part to play in, and in a lot of people's lives," Irons said. "As soon as this broke, they identified which areas they could help with.

"Hopefully the locals will remember that and repay the support the club has shown them. The last thing we want is for clubs to go under as a result of this pandemic.

"Helping the community is a win-win. If everybody looks after each other we'll all come out hopefully safely from this."

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