Gordon's Story

Gordon entered rehab three years ago and spent months fighting to get clean for the first time since he was a teenager.

Gordon McLean was just 14 when he first got hooked on drugs. Back then, John Major was Prime Minister, Take That were the poster-boys of pop music and the Scottish national team still qualified for World Cups. Fast-forward more than two decades and McLean, now 36, has left drug abuse and alcoholism behind and is preparing for “the second greatest achievement” of his life when he runs out as a Scotland player at this year’s Homeless World Cup.

His number one triumph? "Without doubt getting clean off drugs and booze after 18 years as a hopeless addict,” he says. “I went through it all. It started with cannabis, acid and speed, then progressed to cocaine, then to valium and heroin, then methadone. Right up to when I was 33, without a break. I was a complete and utter mess. But it’s not like that anymore.“I had a lot of upheaval in my life when I was young, and drinks and drugs became a solution to my problems. I became hooked and didn’t engage with life. Instead I engaged with crime, drugs and alcoholism. I was broken around the age of 28. I’d ruined my mental health, my relationship with my family, with girlfriends, and isolation took over.”

I’m thankful that I’ve improved my mental and physical health, thankful for where I live, that I now feel safe in my life. Words can’t describe how all of this makes me feel.

McLean, a Rangers fan who now lives in Glasgow, entered rehab three years ago and spent months fighting to get clean for the first time since he was a teenager. This experience introduced him to Street Soccer Scotland and the Homeless World Cup. He says the impact of football on his life has been profound. Football has brought passion back to my life.

Football, and everything that has come with it, allowed me to start feeling good about myself for the first time in as long as I can remember. I used to live in the darkness and am in the light today. I’m so far removed from that lifestyle. I wake up every day very grateful for the amazing people and the opportunities I’ve got in my life today.