By Andrew Rowland
From Brazil to Australia, Japan to the USA, every kid from every corner of the globe dreams of playing in the English Premier League.
Since 1992, players from 106 different nations have been signed to Premier League clubs, now a young Ayrshire lad has achieved this ambition.
“My dream has always been to go and play in the Premier League,” Ardrossan teenager Billy Gilmour told Ayrshire Magazine.
But, of course, 15 year-old Billy has not just signed with any Premier League side, he has penned a deal with the present Champions, Chelsea. It is Billy Gilmour’s desire and determination that has taken the teenager from the windswept football pitches of North Ayrshire to Stamford Bridge via Rangers.
It is a football journey that begins with his mum, dad and grandad:
“From a young age, even just going out the back door with my mum for a kick around excited me and my grandad took me to the playing fields at the park every weekend,” says Billy, reflecting on this early childhood while his father was away from home serving in the Royal Navy.
“I moved on to Mini Kickers and then started at Tass Thistle and then Rangers, Celtic, Kilmarnock, St. Mirren and Ayr.”
Billy also has some football pedigree – his father played with Ardrossan Winton Rovers where Billy would often be a visitor in the home dressing room. Being part of this world at an early age has meant that Billy has had no problems mixing it with the older age groups, at either club or country level.
Gilmour has also played for Rangers and Scotland at a higher age group and has already trained with the Rangers first team.
A former pupil of Stanley Primary School, Ardrossan and Grange Academy, Kilmarnock, the latter school he attended is an SFA Performance School, designed to develop promising football players while improving their academic and social skills.
At Chelsea, the Ardrossan teenager will miss hanging around with his younger brother, Harvey, who is also a promising young footballer.
“I’ll miss going out the back door or kicking about Ardrossan with my wee brother,” he admitted. “… and just being able to go out to kick a ball around in the streets. I’ll miss that a lot and also my family.”
Brother Harvey has just signed on for another year with Kilmarnock FC. He has also followed his older brother being accepted by the Grange Academy SFA Performance School.
Billy’s family have always encouraged him to be the best at what he does and have allowed him to secure his move to Chelsea. They have also kept him grounded despite his move to a big Premier League club. Dedicated and driven, Gilmour has always aimed high.
“I’ve always played up an age level,” Billy revealed. “I always wanted to be the best and never settle for less.”
The family have already travelled to London to visit Chelsea’s Cobham Training Centre and the accommodation the club will provide for the young Ayrshire starlet. While he is with Chelsea, Gilmour will live with a host family in Cobham, Surrey – a relatively small village around one hour’s drive from Central London.
When the family last visited they managed to attend a game at Stamford Bridge and watch Chelsea score a late winner to beat West Bromwich Albion 1-Nil.
It would have been easy for Gilmour to have opted to stay in Scotland with Rangers, but Billy’s dream has always been to play in the Premier League.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he told Ayrshire Magazine. “It’s been my dream and passion in life from a very young age,”
Chelsea’s attention was nothing new for this young man from Ardrossan, he has always been on the radar of some the world’s top clubs and his performances for Rangers and Scotland have attracted some of the biggest names in the sport including Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona.