Former Scotland international goalkeeper and ex-St Johnstone and Dundee United star returns to his home Moray to help bring on next generation of goalkeepers
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ONE of Moray’s most successful footballing products had returned to the area to pass on his knowledge to young goalkeeping talent.
Lossiemouth boy Alan Main came through the ranks of Elgin Boys Club to play Highland League aged 15 and attract the attention of Scotland’s top clubs.
He signed for Jim McLean’s star-studded Dundee United side of the 1980s, gained international recognition and became one of St Johnstone’s highest appearance-makers during a professional career spanning more than 500 games.
Now aged 55 and back in Moray, Main is starting his own goalkeeping coaching business and offering local youngsters the chance to learn from one of the best.
“This has been on my mind for a wee while now to set up a goalkeeping school, an academy or development centre,” he said.
“I thought it would be a good thing to set up as a business and maybe give something back to the kids in Moray, because that is where I am from.
“I had been working offshore but got fed up with that, and I just feel at this time in my life I wanted to get back to coaching.
“People have said to me that I should be coaching goalkeepers so that’s why I’ve decided to do it. More so, just to help kids out really.
“I’ve just been making people aware that I am back in the area and I’m keen to set up this business doing coaching, and I don’t want anyone to take offence.
“If your goalkeeper is coming to me one night of the week, maybe because they want to learn something. I’m not trying to steal anybody’s job, I just want to put something on for the kids that might be different for them.
“I’ve had some demand for training sessions from goalkeepers and it has been out there on social media, so the response from the public has been really positive and most say it is something that is needed in the area.”
Main will begin a block of keeper coaching sessions at Elgin High School next month, and is also doing one-to-one sessions with local keepers keen to hone their skills.
He remembers only too well being a budding young goalie growing up in Lossie, looking to make his mark in the sport.
“I’m thinking back, I must have been 10 or 11 when I joined Elgin Boys Club,” he said. “I remember it well because I went up with my two older brothers and I was near the back of the queue and when we eventually got into the wee hut, I handed in my form and was told ‘I’m awful sorry son but you are a year too young so we will put you on the reserve list’.
In schools football he came up against a playuer who was to become one of Moray’s most famous footballing sons.
“I played for Hythehill (Lossiemouth primary) and we played in a final against Keith and (future Scotland captain) Colin Hendry was there.
“It was at Borough Briggs and we won 3-1 or 4-1 and after the game we were quite excited and there was a knock on the door. It was one of the boys league managers, he knew I was on the reserve list and asked me if I wanted to go and play for Royals in the league.
“I was over the moon.”
Main played a game at Rothes under manager Danny Fitzsimmons, who then took him to Lossiemouth where his performances attracted the attention of Elgin City.
He then got snapped up by Dundee United, playing there for almost nine years. Selected to play for Scotland under-20s at the World Cup in Chile, he worked under Craig Brown and Andy Roxburgh.
Before long he was competing with Scotland goalkeeping greats Jim Leighton and Andy Goram for the honour of playing for the senior team, but never managed to get a full cap despite numerous under-21 and Scotland B appearances.
“I didn’t have goalkeeping coaching, probably in the first ten years of my career.
“I think there’s definitely a need for it among the goalkeepers. It’s good to be there watching kids and they will probably get a lot out of it, it’s a technical thing you are talking to them about, instead of saying you should have done this or you should have done that.”
Main has set up his MA1N Goalkeeping website and Facebook page and can be contacted on email@example.com for more details on sessions.