Bill Gillespie never imagined how his life would be transformed when wife Janet, researching a resort with a difference to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary seven years ago, suggested the African nation.
Now he’s the honorary father to a family of 26 and his big heart and the support of the Stirling community has seen him kit out six squads of at least 300 adults and kids. The team, from the village of Mandinary, has even been renamed The Gambinos in honour of Bill and his Forthbank favourites, who take on Inverness in the Cup tomorrow.
Bill said: “It was a beach holiday and we’d no sooner got off the bus than a big guy grabbed our suitcases and took them to our room. His name was Morrow Yarboe. He had just married and his wife was pregnant but they lived in abject poverty. “It’s common for Gambians to look for sponsorship from people from wealthier nations and Janet and I got to know him over the holiday.
“He invited us to Mandinary to meet his family and while we were there he asked if we fancied going to watch a semi-final between his boys and a rival village, being played on the local sand pitch. “I didn’t even know which team I was supporting but the skill was unbelievable, although the Mandinary players had only five matching shirts, no matching shorts and only a couple of them had socks. Forget boots.
if you would like to financially support the Gambinos, you can sponsor a player. Please go to https://www.gambinosfc.com