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American footballers are celebrating their latest home win after bagging a new sponsorship deal with Pro-Life and Five on 5 in Paisley.

The West Coast Trojans, who boast a squad which includes amateur players from all over Renfrewshire, believe the partnership will make it easier for them to train and recruit new talent to the sport.

Trojans Head Coach Gary McNey said: “It’s great to have Pro-Life on board for another year. They are giving us a new set of game jerseys and a deal which is worth thousands of pounds to us and we can’t thank them enough.

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“The squad also get to use the gym and pitches and family and friends get special rates too.
“We know the gym is now being run by Renfrewshire Sports Charity and we’re delighted they saw fit to back us.

“The staff are unbelievable. They are happy to help us with specialised training, workouts and nutrition advice to make sure we’re getting the best expert help around. Nothing is too much trouble for any of them.

“With Five on 5 on board too we have a solid base to recruit and run our pre-season training. As well as training there twice a week when the weather ain’t that great it’s also a great venue for any events we wish to run including the 2015 Superbowl. Everyone has been awesome.”

Gary, who founded the Trojans in 2004 and is still playing at 47 after 29 years in the game, added: “One side of my family are from Salt Village, Illinois so there’s always been a keen interest in American Football in my house.

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“I go over to the States at least once a year and I’m still on a mission to get more people over here interested in taking up the sport.

“Our training sessions are open for anyone to come along, have a chat about how you can become a player, and to see what training is like and what’s expected. People have this image that you have to be huge and built like a tank – you don’t.
“We have big guys like Paddy Shields who is 6ft 5ins and 21 stone and smaller guys like Joshua Polson who is 5ft 10 and 15 stone and fast. You need power and strength but also speed in your team.”
Training is intense both indoors and outdoors and the squad is involved in sprint training, plyometrics exercises – a technique that uses explosive movements like jump squats or one-leg hops with some moves faster than others.
Every time players land from a jump their muscles get a stretch which gives their next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting muscles whips them into shape.
Gary, from Erskine, who was signed to Rangers in his younger days, explained: “This workout uses maximum power to strengthen your muscles. The moves are quick and explosive, so you have to prepare to use a lot more energy than you do in a typical strength-training session.

“Our taster sessions are a great way to find out if the sport is for you. You need to have some level of fitness and a determination to increase that level with a regime of training which includes lifts, sprints, weights, strength training and speed training,

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“There’s also the one on one, two on two and three on three contact training, throwing and catching a football and a whole lot more. We have players ranging in age from 18 to our oldest Stewart Caldwell, or Soggy as we call him who is 48 and a great-grandfather. So there’s no age limit.”

The dad-of-four, a joiner who runs his own business when he’s not coaching, believes the sport will get bigger in this country and people will open their eyes to the game he is passionate about.

For now he has his own personal challenge to face after winning a five-week training camp with former pro-Life gym owner Alex Whelan senior.

Gary said: “Although Alex has retired he still does personal training at the gym. Last time I had a stint with him it almost killed me. I’m dreading it but know I will appreciate how good I will feel after it.

He quipped: “I’ve just had a chicken may sandwich and I’m heading for a curry after training as it’s the last treat I will have for weeks. Diet and nutrition as well as a hard time in the gym under Alex’s watchful eye and tough regime are what’s ahead for me.

“I think I was lucky to win. I’ll let you know in five weeks.”

Anyone who would like to know what the Trojans are all about and when the next taster session is can give Gary a call on 07429 137969. Alternatively drop into one of their training session at Pro-Life on a Tuesday evening from 7.30pm.


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The things a chief exec has to do –Gayle gets to find out what it is like in the huddle where players discuss strategy.

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Gayle, chief executive of Renfrewshire Sports Charity, is driving the charity and one of its aims to encourage sport by backing the Trojans for another year.

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Gayle catches up with head coach Gary McNey and Trojans Murray Hogg, Paddy Shields, Jason West and Joshua Polson on training night at Pro-Life as they celebrate the new sponsorship deal.

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Launch of Renfrewshire Sports Charity

Hundreds of people turned out to soak up the sunshine, entertainment, BBQ and free fun events at Pro-Life in Paisley to celebrate the launch of Renfrewshire Sports Charity.

There was a wonderful party atmosphere as young boys and girls got the chance to try their skills at water zorbing, beat-the-bull and keepie up as well as being entertained by Bubbles the Clown and having their faces painted.


The two bouncy castles were a huge hit and there was also a free Rockettes workshop where young fans of the cheerleading group got a chance to learn some new moves.

Adults got into the beat with a variety of acts and music from Entertainment Express while the burger stall, barbeque and free buffet kept hungry visitors satisfied. The RSC team has been up since dawn preparing for the debut event and every minute spent preparing proved worthwhile.

There were happy faces all round.

During the celebrations businessman Alex Whelan took to the stage to explain why he had gifted the Pro-Life gym to the charity and urged everyone to back their efforts as he took a back seat. Every new membership will mean £400 for the hospices.


There were loud cheers and claps after both Helen Simpson, chief executive at ACCORD and Kate Lennon, chief executive at St Vincent’s spoke to the crowds about the work of the hospices and hopes for the future.

Helen told the crowd she spoke for both hospices when she said what a wonderful gentleman Alex was – humble and kind and truly unique in giving such a gift to help people with life limiting illnesses.

“It is also wonderful that Renfrewshire Sports Charity is supporting young sports people because as we improve people’s health and reduce chronic illnesses hospices won’t be needed so much in the future. Your membership here is supporting your local hospice and we are lucky to have it.”

Kate told visitors that one woman whose husband was in the hospice was telling her how much she appreciated the support and kindness of the staff and she summed up her experience by saying ‘Coming here is like having a big pair of arms wrapped around you’ .

Kate added: “For me that just says it all.”

Two special plaques were awarded to Linwood Rangers and Saltire Boxing Club by Ian Lynchahon, chairman of SportRenfrewshire in appreciation of all their work in the community over a number of years.

Deone Robertson, the reigning Miss Galaxy Scotland, and spent time mingling with the crowds and said: “I work out at Pro-Life and think this new charity venture is wonderful. It’s the best gym in Renfrewshire and I am proud to be here today to be part of all of this.”

Babs McGinlay, 55, a Buddie who moved to Canada 30 years ago was back in her home town on holiday and decided to visit the open day after friends told her the story of how the hospices benefit from gym memberships.

She said: “It’s a wonderful idea and one which I will take back to Ontario with me as I volunteer for a cancer charity near my home. What a fabulous way to raise money and there’s such a happy atmosphere here today.”

Gayle Brannigan, chief executive of Renfrewshire’s newest charity, said: “We wanted people to come along and enjoy themselves. It was our way of saying thanks to those who support the charity through Pro-Life because every membership means money for ACCORD and St Vincent’s.

“We issued an open invitation to the whole community to come along and the turnout was magnificent. We had a fabulous crowd and we also had the chance to shout out loud and proud about what we want to achieve for our two hospices as well as highlight what we want to do for our promising young sportsmen and women.

“The team at RSC will be working hard to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the hospices but we can’t do it alone. We need the support of the community and if the open day is anything to go by we have their blessing.

“Anyone interested in finding out how they can help the charity by staying fit and healthy should just give us a call and we will tell them all about our work on behalf of the hospices.”

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