Martin Glaude is pretty good at this internet thing. The pride of Sudbury, Ontario was doing memes before there was such a thing as YouTube, and when that platform came along, Glaude crushed it. Going by the handle quill18, Glaude has drawn over 400,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, which features him playing videogames, including Football Manager 2017, where he takes charge of Scottish Championship side Ayr United.
Earlier this month, Glaude put down his mouse and decided to check out the real thing. He made the trek from the Big Nickel to Somerset Park and watched his adopted team play Dunfermline on January 7. It was a rough outing for Ayr, as The Pars came away with a 2-0 victory, but for Glaude, the trip was “a dream come true.”
So how does a computer programmer from Sudbury end up supporting a club from over 3,000 miles away? Because of his wife, who goes by the name Essentia online. “She spent a semester studying at college there around six years ago,” Glaude told the Daily Record. Now Glaude spends as much as two hours every day playing Football Manager, with about 100,000 of his YouTube followers specifically there to watch him manage Ayr United.
Some of those followers showed up at Somerset Park, too. And after the match, about 30 people joined Glaude at the Ayrshire and Galloway to talk Football Manager strategy. Glaude’s own level of play has improved through feedback on YouTube and Twitch; now that he’s had the opportunity to see Ayr live and talk directly to some hardcore gamers from the local community, Glaude should fare even better.
This is all wonderful news for the club itself. Just as John Green’s obsession with FIFA 17 has attracted new fans to AFC Wimbledon of England’s League One, Glaude’s “Let’s Play” videos have drawn fresh eyeballs to The Honest Men. Merchandise sales are up for Ayr United, and not just because Glaude went on a spending spree when he arrived in town. Many of his followers are sporting the Black and White, as well – just not at the Ayrshire and Galloway. No team colours allowed at the pubs.
*Odds as of January 23, 2017