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Ian Cashmore

Footballer and coach

Footballer and coach

Born: October 4, 1960; Died: April 28, 2014.

Ian Cashmore, who has died aged 53, was a footballer whose playing career was ended by a catastrophic freak accident, aged just 21, but who subsequently forged a new career as a coach.

Kilwinning born-and-bred, Cashmore was one of a cadre of exciting young players whom Willie McLean, the eldest of the three managerial McLean brothers, recruited to Ayr United. Jim Fleeting, the SFA's director of football development, who was then the United captain, recalls ferrying Cashmore and the young Stevie Nicol to training at Somerset Park. "The in-car banter was non-stop", he said.

Cashy, as he was known to everyone in Ayrshire football, was shy and would become very red-faced if spoken to, which saw him dubbed The Beam, a nickname which stuck in the dressing room.

He scored seven goals in 38 games for the Honest Men, before one of his team mates, Jim McSherry, who had been appointed manager of Berwick Rangers, took the 21-year-old to Shielfield Park on-loan, prior to making the move permanent.

Cashmore was working as a turner with a local engineering firm in Kilwinning, although he continued to train with Ayr United. One Thursday night, in November 1982, whilst training at Somerset Park, he fell awkwardly - he had broken his neck and, after a mere ten games for the wee Rangers, in which he had scored eight goals, his career was over and his life was dramatically changed.

Celtic and Sunderland played a testimonial game for him at Berwick, whilst the Ayrshire football community rallied round and a tremendous fund-raising effort, which underlined his popularity, saw a trust fund set up for him. He was to spend the remainder of his life confined to a wheel chair,

He refused to let his misfortune keep him away from football, however, putting all his energies into youth coaching. He formed Dirrans BC, then Kilwinning Sports Club, where he concentrated on coaching the youngest boys, aged under seven and in recruiting fathers whom he would then coach through their youth coaching badges.

So successfully did he do this that, in 2010, he was awarded UEFA's silver Grass Roots Leader's award, which was presented to him by Kenny Dalglish.

He continued to live in Kilwinning with his wife Cathy and his popularity locally was shown by the full house who packed Kilwinning Abbey for his funeral service earlier this month.

In February of this year, he was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer, which claimed his life just weeks later.

He is survived by Cathy and their children - Ian Junior, who followed his father to Ayr United and now plays in the juniors for Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Lauren and Amanda. He was due to become a grandfather for the first time in August.

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