COVE RANGERS ASSISTANT BOSS GORDON GIVES LOWDOWN ON HIS JOB AND LIFE IN FOOTBALL

21/01/2020

COVE Rangers assistant manager GORDON YOUNG talks about his life in football and ambitions now that he’s part of the coaching team at Balmoral Stadium.

You have coached at the highest levels all around the world so what was it that persuaded you to come to Cove Rangers?

Firstly, it was the opportunity to work with Paul Hartley and Tam Ritchie again, I really enjoyed our time together at Falkirk.
The other main reason is I’m really excited by the project put in front of us here at Cove Rangers.
I had offers to go elsewhere but I felt I would just have found myself as one of the merry go round of coaches who go from club to club.
I was eager to avoid the same old stuff, trying to simply survive every season.
It’s different here at Cove.
Everyone, from the chairman down, has ambition and a desire to see us competing at the highest levels possible.
Paul and I have almost been given a blank page to work from and that is something rare in football nowadays.
It’s an extraordinary opportunity for us,
I’ve coached on three continents but I can’t recall ever being as excited by what the future could hold as I have been since arriving at Cove.
I can see this club eventually becoming a full-time one, although I must emphasise we are a few years away from that.
But it’s thrilling to be in at the start of something new and I’m determined to reward the club for placing their faith in me.

What had you been up to prior to your arrival at Balmoral Stadium?

I had been travelling about the world doing coaching jobs.
I started off going to India, as part of my role as the International Academy manager at Sheffield United, which was to forge links with clubs overseas.
I  enjoyed managing out there, we didn’t lose too many games and it was a fantastic experience.
It was also a fresh challenge after having been 13 years at Motherwell, working at every level,  from managing the under-10s through to the first team.
I wouldn’t have done it if my kids were younger and I could probably have stayed with Motherwell until I chose to retire.
But I felt I needed to take myself out of the comfort zone.
I enjoyed my role with Sheffield United and also  got the opportunity to coach in the USA and work with Mixu Paatelainen at Dundee United and the Latvian international side.
I was 14 months in America.

Which of the managers or coaches you have worked with did you appreciate the most?

That’s an easy one to answer, Craig Brown.
He has been pretty much a mentor throughout my career.
Paul had mentioned to Craig that he was looking for an assistant when he took over at Falkirk.
That led to him contacting me and I jumped at the opportunity to get back involved in the Scottish game.
I also enjoyed working with Craig at Motherwell, he has been a tremendous help to me throughout my career.
I  loved working with Mixu as well, people underestimate how nice a guy he is.
It was the same with Alex Smith, Terry Butcher, Maurice Malpas, Billy Davies,Mark McGhee, Eric Black and also Davie Weir and Nigel Clough, when I was at Sheffield United.
I’ve been really lucky to work alongside some very talented people who were all very good to me.
Paul is up there as well.
We have struck up a really good relationship and I hope we can continue to work together for a good few years yet.

Your work with the youth academy at Motherwell was highly praised. Will you be looking to use that experience to help enhance Cove’s academy set-up?

The priority right now is to help us get established in the SPFL.
But it would be folly to say developing the youth system isn’t something I’ve thought about.
I would eventually like to see if I could help to improve the infrastructure because developing our own players is going to be vital in the years ahead.
If we want to become properly established we will need things right at grassroots level.
That includes creating a youth system strong enough to provide a decent proportion of players who are able to compete at SPFL level.
But my complete focus right now is on the first team.

How have the Cove Rangers players compared to the ones you have worked with in the past at full-time level?

Very favourably. I have nothing but admiration for the way they have applied themselves.
I’m happy to confess I was the one who found it hard to begin with.
I have coached full-time for all of my career so it was difficult adjusting to a part-time role.
But I soon got used to it when I saw just how dedicated the players at Cove are to ensure they are in the best shape they can possibly be to compete in League Two.
I tend to  leave the two training sessions we have with them delighted with what I have seen.
That’s because it’s clear the players put their hearts into everything we ask them to do.

What is your full-time job?

I coordinate the programmes at the School of Football at Braidhurst High School in Motherwell.
My wife is delighted because for the first time in many years I’m consistently back home at a decent time at nights.
I’m doing two jobs now that seem to have the potential to be long term too, so she is pleased she won’t have to cope with me going off on my travels again.
Life couldn’t be much better for me than it is at the moment.