FORMER Argyle full-back David McNamee is back in the south-west - but has swapped the pitch for a ship.
David has embarked on a 10-week basic training course on HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, after signing up with the Royal Navy. Now 35, David played 22 times for Argyle during an injury-hit two-year stint at Home Park, after being signed by Paul Sturrock in 2008.
Having concluded a playing career that included four caps for the Scotland national team, David is now focused on his new path in the services, as he works towards a career as a mine warfare specialist.
"If I hadn’t been a football player, I would have been involved with the Military in some way," said David, "whether it be the Army, Navy or RAF. It was something I’d always wanted to do as a kid. I decided that if the Navy was what I was going to do I was going to have to do it now, before I was too old.
"I want to get as high as I can in the Navy. I’ve always been someone who wants to be the best I possibly can be so I’ll see where my career takes me. I’ve obviously not got as many years to get to that level as some of the other lads will have, but I’ll certainly give it my best goal to get as high as I can."
Although entering into the Navy at a older age than perhaps may be typical, David will be able to use many of the skills he has learned in football to aid him in his new career. You do not get to play a high level of football, gaining international recognition, without a degree of fitness, discipline and knowledge of teamwork.
"The physical aspects and stuff like that I’ve done most of my life, so I’ve been able to keep up with that reasonably comfortably," said David. "The group of lads we’ve got together have been a really good bunch. All the lads enjoyed Havoc, the sinking ship simulator, and things like that which you could get some fun into. It was something completely different to normal phys. I must admit I quite liked being on the Brecon, a decommissioned minesweeper used for training. It was a bit of experience of being on the sort of vessel I’ll be on.
“The word discipline comes into sport, not being able to go out and just party, when you are considered to be a role model for young children. Transferring from that into here has been one of the easier things because I am a person that’s driven a lot like that. I was brought up very well by my parents and had a good strong family unit, so the Navy’s core values came relatively easy to me.”
David said he looks back fondly on his time with Argyle, and his career in general - and even hints that he might not keep the boots in storage for too long.
"Representing my country was obviously a high point in my playing career," he said. "I had some bad injuries when I was at Argyle, so I didn’t play as regularly as I would have liked. I got on well with most of the lads and Paul Sturrock was enjoyable to work with.
"For anyone who doesn’t know I’ve joined the Navy I’m sure it’ll be a big surprise that someone with my background has gone in to something like this, but it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for quite a long time.
"I’ve already been pinged for the Navy football team!"