It was a busy day on Boxing Day, aside from the Community Guests and Dragoon Guards, Society Directors Scott Glenday and Maurice Kidd also welcomed their own guests into the Boardroom for a bit of matchday hospitality.
Joining Scott was weel-kent Dundee fan Ronnie McIntosh and his mate Jim Douglas. Ronnie needs no introduction – a double amputee and transplant recipient who has race-walked around Dens, took part in a tug-of-war and represented Organ Donation, Tayside Kidney Patients Association and Revival Tayside, Ronnie was awarded the Dundee Disabled Sports Person of the Year 2011. In October he entered the British amputee 5km race walk, “just for something to do” – not only was he the first double amputee to finish the race in 30 years, he is now the British Record Holder. To round off a great year, Ronnie attended the Sunday Mail Sports Awards in Glasgow on the 1st December. He is now the very proud winner of the Sport Scotland Disability Sports Award for 2011.
Ever the gentleman, Ronnie told us “very many thanks for your very generous, kind invitation to the boardroom, for a great once in a lifetime experience which I will always remember. It was also a super experience for me to meet up with my all time hero, “the Great Alan Gilzean". We had a great chat, "The Great Gilzean" said that he was highly delighted to meet ME, when it was actually the other way round! I felt 10 feet tall!! I really have to thank you immensely for giving me a chance to share a great day with Scott and so many other great people in attendance. To meet up with so many legends of Dundee Football Club, as well as ex-players, staff and current players, is something that most people only dream about, but never actually experience themselves.
“I also met Craig McKeown, Jake Hyde, Nicky Riley and Ryan Conroy in Sainsbury’s one night the other week, and each and every one of them immediately came over and shook hands with me. Little would I ever imagine that happening? I have had far more success since losing my legs than I have ever done before! And yet, when I was running, I was running consistently, 5 minute per mile pace.
It is really odd, and creepy in a way, that way back in 1961, when I was only 11 years young, I would be standing on the Dens Park terracing in the days long before seating regulations came in after the Hillsborough Disaster, and go through the marvellous experience of actually witnessing the beautiful football that the Superb League Championship side would play, week in, week out. And then, 50 years down life’s great path, I find myself continuing my life with a major organ, donated by a 40-year-old man who died so tragically prematurely; for myself and another 7 extremely fortunate individuals, the supreme gift of a second chance at this great life – as well as being a double below knee amputee.
“What makes it even better for me, personally, is the fact that I am led to believe that I was one of the oldest recipients to receive the ultimate gift of a donor organ at the age of 59, in 2009, and have went on to make the biggest success out of the 8 recipients. I had very little option anyway, due to the fact that if I did not go through with the 2 amputations, then the gangrene would have killed me in any case. It’s great to be alive and I thank God for the gift of organ donation. What better a way to polish off the year, 2011, the best year of my 61 years and 11 months of existence on this planet, than to have a photograph taken along with the most famous Dens Park legend of them all, the one and only great Alan Gilzean. One of the players of, probably, one of the greatest teams ever to grace any football pitch. Great stuff and many, many thanks again for a marvellous day.”
Scott responded simply by saying “there is only one word I can find to describe Ronnie McIntosh and that is ‘Inspirational’……..to have come through the challenges he has faced in life with the attitude he has is a lesson fo