Ian Welsh – Chairman
Ian joined the Academy in 2006. He has extensive experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors in executive, non-executive and consultancy roles.
He is Chief Executive of LTCAS (Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland) the umbrella body for health and disability charities in Scotland, and was formerly Director of UK Services for the Dublin head-quartered, international and not-for-profit Rehab Group, leading a family of charities working in care, supported employment, rehabilitation and training.
Prior to that he was Chief Executive of Momentum Scotland and Chair of the Scottish Advisory Committee of the Voluntary Sector National Training Organisation.
As Chief Executive of Kilmarnock Football Club, he led the club through a period of business and footballing success building a number of innovative community programmes.
Ian was briefly the MSP for Ayr, having been involved in local government for many years as a local elected member and as Leader of Kyle and Carrick District Council and then South Ayrshire Council. He was prominent throughout that period in defense of Prestwick Airport and served as a non-executive Director of the Airport and then in an executive capacity as Director of Human Resources and Public Affairs. Prior to this he was a Deputy Head Teacher in Auchinleck Academy.
He served on the Board of Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire for many years, chairing the Ayrshire Economic Forum, and as well as his role as Chair of Ayr United Football Academy, he occupies the same position with Prestwick Sports and Leisure, Ayr Gaiety Partnership and is a board member of Borderline Theatre Company
He is also a member of the Court of the University of the West of Scotland, where he chairs the Policy and Resources Committee.
Alan McGregor is Director of the Training and Employment Research Unit and Professor of Economic Development at the University of Glasgow. Alan sits on a number of Boards including Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Employability forum and is the Chair of the Economic Development Association for Scotland. Much of his work involves providing policy advice to governments and their agencies in the broad areas of trying to create employment and tackle worklessness. Alan is from Ayr and attended Heathfield Primary and Ayr Academy, and has been going to watch Ayr United since around 1954. Among his fondest memories are the 1-0 defeat of Rangers in 1956 when Ayr played a lot of the game with 10 men, some part of the game with 9 and eventually scored the winner through Willie Japp. Alan has been a member of the AUFA Board since its establishment..
Graham is an Independent Director on the Academy Board and a long standing Ayr United season ticket holder.
Prior to retiring from full-time employment as a solicitor he was formerly an Executive Director and Deputy Chief Executive with South Ayrshire Council. He is currently a Board Member of Ayr Gaiety Partnership Ltd and a Court Member of University of the West of Scotland.
Lachlan achieved Level 4 on the youth pathway in 2006 and during his time in Scotland has coached the Ayr United Girls U11’s, U13’s and has filled in when needed with the Academy 14’s, 15’s and 16’s with training and/or sports science.
Lachlan is passionate about football at all levels and is looking forward to continually progressing the Academy to the point where AUFA is the first choice of the most talented boys from the area to start their professional football careers.
He has a strong interest in football and cricket and, having been born in Tottenham, there are no surprises which team he grew up watching! Although English, he has now spent well over half his life in Scotland although this has had little or no effect on his accent! He is very excited to be on the Board of such a positive local initiative.
John Crawford – Director of Football
John first held the post of Head of Youth Development from 2007 and then became Director of Football in 2009. John has a long history of managing and coaching at various levels from the mid 1970s. John was coach of the Cumnock & District Schools’ Select which won the Scottish Schools’ Primary Cup in 1980. John also helped establish the very successful East Ayrshire Boys’ Club in the early 1980s before joining Ayr United Boys’ Club and managing their Under 15s and Under 16s. John signed Duncan George who went on to become an established first team player for Ayr United. John also attended the National Sports Centre at Largs and attained his Adult C and B Coaching Licences.
John then moved into the world of Junior Football where he spent the next 26 years. John joined Whitletts Victoria in 1984 and was coach to the team who won the Ayrshire District League in 1986. John moved on to Annbank United as manager and in 1987 they won the Jackie Scarlett League Cup. Further spells as manager of Maybole, Kilwinning Rangers (winning the Ayrshire District League) Lugar Boswell and Cumnock Juniors provided John with valuable experience. In 1994 John’s Largs Thistle team won the Scottish Junior Cup defeating Glenafton 1-0 in the final at Ibrox Stadium. On the previous day at the same venue John’s school team Drongan Primary won the Scottish Schools’ Cup. John received the Manager of the Year Award for Junior Football after adding the Ayrshire District League title to the Scottish Cup win in 1994.
John’s Drongan Primary School Team produced players such as Stewart Kean (Ayr United & St Mirren), Ryan Stevenson (Ayr United & Hearts) and Kirk Broadfoot (Rangers & Scotland) who all featured in the Premier League.
John then managed Hurlford United gaining 3 promotions, an Ayrshire District League title and a local cup success. During John’s time at Hurlford the club provided 2 players for Ayr United, namely, Chris Robertson and Ryan Caddis with Garry Tweedie also signing for Elgin City. John received a long service award from the Scottish Schools’ Football Association in November 2010. John has previously held coaching positions with Senior Academy teams including the Under 17s who successfully won the SFL League title in 2011. John has also mentored a number of coaches within the Academy. John recently retired from his post as Head Teacher and has now resumed the post of Director of Football for the Academy.