IAN ENJOYS BEING THE MAN IN THE SPOTLIGHT WHEN COVE RANGERS ENTERTAIN GUESTS AT BALMORAL
MEET the man with the mic at Balmoral Stadium.
Ian Thain has become one of the most sought after speakers at sporting events since hanging up his boots after decades as a star goalkeeper in the Highland League, including 16 years of loyal service to Keith.
So Cove Rangers were delighted when the 53 year old agreed to act as the master of ceremonies when the club are entertaining guests at ahead of home matches.
"I was delighted to be asked," said Ian, who also played for Deveronvale and Inverurie Locos.
"It's an exciting time to be associated with the club, especially at their fantastic stadium, which is all new and fresh.
"Hopefully they like me enough to keep me involved for a long time."
Ian entertains guests with his wit and charm and the odd dodgy joke, but admits it can often be more nerve wracking than facing some of the Highland League's top strikers ever was.
He said: "The toughest part is trying to keep my script fresh and avoid using the same jokes.
"That can be difficult when you might be doing something like 20 games a season and have some guests who may attend the majority of those.
"When people have enjoyed their day at Balmoral so much they have chosen to come back you want to make a special effort so that they don't feel short changed.
"Some of my jokes might be older than Keith Moorhouse (the Cove chairman) but I do try my best to change things about."
Ian has honed his act during many years of speaking at dinners and events throughout Scotland.
"It all began when I was still playing," he said.
"I was asked if I fancied being the compère at a couple of football dinners because the organisers simply couldn't find anyone else and it has grown from there.
"The good thing for me is it keeps me involved with what is happening in the Highland League.
"When a lot of players retire it's an abrupt end and many hardly see another game.
"But have done hosting and dinners for a good few Highland clubs, which also gives me the chance to catch up with old pals as well as watch the games.
"You can't get much better than being paid for something you love doing."
Ian's talent as a speaker has allowed led to him sharing a stage with some famous names, including Graeme Souness, Ryan Giggs, Harry Redknapp, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker - and even actress Joanna Lumley.
"It's been fascinating," said Ian.
"I've had to pinch myself at times when I think my only real claim to fame is I once conceded 10 goals to Rangers while playing for Keith and here I am rubbing shoulders with some real football greats.
"I'm a football fan as much as I the people who attend the dinners, so it's exciting to be the one asking the celebrities questions and spending some time alone with them as well."
Ian declined to pick out one as his favourites.
He said: "I can honestly say all of them were nice and couldn't do enough to help me on the night.
"You are always a bit wary when you meet some of your own heroes but I haven't been disappointed yet."
Ian has particularly enjoyed sharing the stage with some of the country's top comediennes, including Tam Cowan.
"He's the top man in my book," said Ian.
"He's such a quick witted man you can't help but be impressed when you see Tam in full flow.
"I confess I've been known to pinch the odd joke from him but I'm sure Tam won't notice, he has so many.
"If I can send my audience home half as happy as they tend to be after seeing Tam I'm a contented man."