If you recognise Ian, it will either be from the doors of Gulliver’s (Gullies, to the locals), where a two-week job turned into 18 years as a doorman, or as a part of the historic Grimsby Rugby Union Football Club. 

Ian Macdonald has lived in Grimsby all of his life. At 21, he was invited to the long-standing GRUFC, and to this day it remains the only club he has ever played with. While Ian retired from playing the sport at 46 “after about six failed attempts of retiring”, he has been instrumental in bringing rugby to the wider Grimsby community. 


For four years, Ian has been coaching the juniors on a Sunday morning, giving kids in the area the opportunity to be active, become part of a team, and make new friends. In 2017, he and a group of the club’s committee members organised a schools rugby tournament, joining forces with Lincs Inspire to give even more young people a chance to try the sport. 

18 months ago, Ian brought O2 touch rugby to the town – a non-contact form of rugby which is open to anyone and everyone over the age of 15. This has proven to be hugely popular, and recently a new ladies squad has come together to train, the first in almost 20 years. 

Since becoming a Coach, Ian has become a member of both the Junior and Senior committees. He says: “I truly believe that rugby is a fully-inclusive team sport. There is a place in teams for every shape and ability. It teaches respect and discipline, every player refers to the ref as ‘sir’. The friends you make on a rugby pitch are friends for life. 

“Clubs like ours are run purely by volunteers and without these people behind the scenes, grassroots rugby would struggle.”