Written by Nairn County FC June 1st 2021

Everyone at Nairn County Football Club has been saddened today by the passing of our former trainer / assistant manager, George Welsh. George was manager Innes Macdonald's right-hand man when we won our one and only (to date) Highland League championship in season 1975/76. George had a career in the Army and following the end of his service, was the Head of PE at Gordonstoun School while also training New Elgin JFC. He served as Innes Macdonald's trainer at Elgin City during a trophy-laden spell at Borough Briggs before coming to Station Park and transforming our fortunes, turning our team from perennial strugglers to eventually achieving the ultimate accolade which has eluded every Nairn County management team before and since – the Highland League championship. Before George came to Nairn with Innes in 1973, the club had finished the season second bottom of the table, avoiding the wooden spoon by just a single point. In their first season in charge though, the duo propelled the team up the league to finish fifth and then consolidated themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Highland League by finishing the next season in sixth. It was season 1975/76 that was to be George's crowning glory at Station Park as he and Innes worked their magic to take the championship back to Nairn in the most dramatic of fashions. Following a tie at the top of the table with Fraserburgh and with places not separated by goal difference in those days, a playoff to determine the champion club took place at Borough Briggs, Elgin on May 17th 1976. Alex Gordon headed Nairn in front but Fraserburgh equalised to take the tie to extra time. Peter Robertson then clipped home the only goal of the additional 30 minutes to take the final step in a momentous three-year journey for George and Innes taking the team from a point off the foot of the table to its very summit and the ultimate prize. The Nairnshire Telegraph said at the time: "Three years ago Nairn were a struggling side. Then Innes Macdonald and his sidekick George Welsh took over when they gave Elgin City their leave. Ever since, the footballing side of the club has gone from strength to strength. The Macdonald-Welsh combination injected new life into the team while the officials have 'slaved at raising the finance necessary for a wee team like us to compete with the big guns' to quote Macdonald." Nairn's season as defending champions saw us finish third and we then came eighth in 1977/78 and 11th in 1978/79 before George retired from football at the end of that campaign. Speaking in 2013, the late Innes Macdonald said: "If I gave them (the players) a roasting for something, George would be by their side afterwards lifting their spirits, encouraging them and getting them back on track. "He was a great trainer but he was always meticulous in his preparation for games looking after the team kit and all manner of things. I could not have done my job without his support and the players held him in the highest regard." The flag at Station Park is flying at half-mast as a mark of respect to George. We all send our condolences to George's family and friends at this sad time.

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