A FORMER player with Crossgates Primrose is ready to go from giving 100 per cent on the park to “100 per cent behind the laptop” in his new role with the club.

Jake Simpson, who represented the Humbug Park side for two seasons between 2011-2013, has taken over the role as their head of media and marketing from Kevan McArthur, who was appointed club secretary at their AGM last week.

A right back in his playing stint for Primrose, Jake, 25, left in order to concentrate on his studies at Edinburgh University in product design and graphic design.

Although he was picked for the university team, course commitments stopped him from playing, while injuries suffered from a fall a few years later further reduced time spent on the pitch.

However, having returned to the village, Jake, who works as a process designer for a bank, is keen to play his part in helping Crossgates continue their progression in the East of Scotland League Premier Division.

“Obviously, being an ex-player, it’s got a place in my heart,” he explained.

“I’ve lived in Crossgates pretty much my whole life so being part of it, in a different way, is really nice. I know how much time the committee put in, and I can do design, marketing and advertising – it’s what I’m qualified in. It takes that pressure off them and they can focus on building the club in other ways.

“I contacted Kev (Kevan MacArthur) last year or the year before, and I’d mentioned to him that I’d been to uni and studied product design and graphic design.

“I was close to Kev and the team from when I played there and I’d offered my assistance at that time. It’s a good feeling to know you can pay back the club that helped you out.”

While playing with Woodside Boys’ Club, Jake was invited to join Primrose by then boss Dave McNeely at just 16, following in the footsteps of players he used to watch turning out at Humbug while growing up.

Following his departure seven years ago, the club, struggling for volunteers and at the bottom of the South Division of junior football’s east region, was placed in abeyance for a short period before returning.

With a new committee, and under the management of Alan Campbell, the club moved to the East of Scotland League in 2018 and were promoted into its Premier Division at the end of their first season. They consolidated their place in a season cut short by coronavirus and Jake hopes his work off the park can help make it a more attractive proposition for players, supporters and sponsors.

“I started playing with Crossgates when I was 16 so I was really young,” he continued.

“That was a massive risk for the club to put someone that young in to play so it’s about paying back what they helped me with.

“When I was younger, I used to go and watch the Primrose games, so to step on that park was going to be a nice feeling. The only reason I stopped playing is because I went to uni.

“I had an accident a few years later and I just stopped playing football, and that’s kinda why I want to come back and give it back in a different way.

“It’s no longer a junior club as well; it’s working towards becoming bigger and that’s why I’m on board now because I want to see it go to those places. What’s stopping the club going to those places? Everyone had to start somewhere.

“It’s a real honour for me. The response I got is really not what I expected; one person said: ‘He gave 100 per cent on the park and he’ll give 100 per cent behind the laptop’. I thought that was absolutely brilliant.

“When Kev came back to me, I was just really excited to get started. Social media and stuff plays a huge part in today’s game, and that’s why I wanted to come in and take the pressure off everyone.

“It’s that type of thing where you get the buzz behind the players, making it professional, and making it attractive for people to come and watch and support locally.”

Jake added: “For us as well, the village has been ever-growing. There’s people that maybe don’t know there’s a football park there or what Crossgates is all about so things like the Crossgates Together Facebook group, where there’s these new people that are joining and names you’ve never seen before, are like, ‘Oh wow, there’s a football team there, let’s go down and watch them’.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the attendances this year because there’s been a lot of work going on at the park, and if people see there’s a real attempt to get the club to go places, I think there could be higher attendances, which would be really exciting.”