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The Honest Truth: How the perfect pitch on YouTube kicked off a love for Scots football

© Paul Greenwood/BPI/ShutterstockSeeing Ukraine play Sweden at Hampden is a highlight for Sam
Seeing Ukraine play Sweden at Hampden is a highlight for Sam

Tales of football clubs, from the top tier to lower leagues, are attracting thousands of YouTube viewers as vloggers tour Scotland taking in the matchday experience.

Sam North, who runs the FootyAdventures channel, told Ross Crae the Honest Truth about football ground-hopping.

How did you start making the videos?

After almost 10 years of working in an industry I wasn’t 100% passionate about, I knew I had to give something different a go. I dreamed up numerous side hustles and other business ideas but none ever stuck.

Once I had the idea of being a YouTuber, I put all my eggs in that basket and here I am, a few years later, waking up every day doing something I love.

I moved to Scotland a week before the first Covid lockdown. For obvious reasons I wasn’t able to watch much football or see any of Scotland but, once a few restrictions eased, Stenhousemuir offered me a press pass for a behind-closed-doors game against Edinburgh City in League 2. That was in November 2020 and I’ve never looked back. I’m completely hooked on Scottish football!

What picture do you hope to paint of the sport?

Scottish football gets quite a bad rep from fans and media outlets the world over. I want to show it in the best light possible. The people really do make the game north of the border and it’s their stories I try to tell.

My YouTube channel isn’t about me, it’s about the people I meet. Football is an ecosystem and we wouldn’t have things like big European nights at Celtic Park without the rest of the teams backing Celtic up.

Their 1967 European Cup-winning captain and manager both began their playing careers at Blantyre Victoria. If that doesn’t prove why non-league is important I don’t know what will.

What feedback have you had from fans?

Overwhelmingly positive, thankfully. I think being an Englishman talking up the Scottish game is a bit of a novelty. I also like to think my neutrality goes a long way too.

I’ve found that even when times are hard people will still put their all into supporting their team. Even if the football is rubbish at times it’s all about the community and enjoying a day out with like-minded fans, family or friends.

What are your most memorable moments so far?

My first European nights at Ibrox and Celtic Park were special, as was the League Cup final between Celtic and Hibs. I’ve seen Kelty Hearts’ first SPFL match, Stenhousemuir v Edinburgh City behind closed doors and Ukraine v Sweden in the Euros at Hampden. There’s just too many!

When you visit a club, what kind of things do you look for?

It really depends on the size of a club. Usually fans are the best people to speak to. Managers, players and board members can come and go but the fans have been there throughout it all. They’re usually the best-informed and passionate people.

Most clubs have been great with me. I think it depends on how the club is doing on and off the pitch. When things are going well, people are more than happy to accommodate me. Trying to arrange interviews with teams battling relegation is a lot harder!

Have you heard of people south of the border who’ve seen Scottish football in a new light thanks to the videos?

Definitely. I receive messages all the time from people who are going to watch Kelty play purely down to my videos. It’s a great honour!

How much have you learned throughout your journeys?

I’ve learned a lot about myself. Trying to grow a YouTube channel in the football space in 2022 is tough due to the sheer amount of football channels out there. I have dedicated almost every day of my life to this since the end of the first lockdown. Covid built resilience in me and a drive to succeed within YouTube.

I’ve also learned a massive amount about the Scottish game that deserves more coverage from all aspects of the media. As much as I love to cover the Old Firm, there’s incredible stories about Third Lanark, Dumbarton, Kelty Hearts, Elgin City, St Bernard’s, Renton, Vale of Leven and even more that usually go untold.