IN THE DUGOUT | June 22nd | THEY said he wasn’t a player...
By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers
"THEY said he wasn’t a player but as a kid Jose Mourinho’s goalkeeper father Felix took him into every locker-room. He learned the game there.”
I could have listened to Porto’s 2004 Champions League winner Costinha talk about his relationship with Chelsea’s Special One all day.
The chance to do that and rub shoulders with the elegant midfielder and his brilliant sidekick Maniche on the pitch was the highlight of nine days living in the football bubble on my SFA A Licence earlier this month.
This is just the start of a journey that will culminate in my assessment at the National Sports Centre in Largs in May 2016.
Before then there will be five weighty assignments and two more weekends with my star-studded classmates before that craved qualification is in my back pocket.
This year-long study will be the end of a decade-long adventure to become the best coach I can be.
Along the way I’ve dealt with arrogant ignorance, sneering scepticism, criticism, cynicism and flak.
Why? Because I chose to educate myself as a football man through the programme expertly overseen by SFA stalwarts Jim Fleeting and Donald Park.
“I don’t need to badges to be a good coach”. I’ve heard that one more than a few times.
Maybe not but it sure as hell doesn’t harm you to learn the latest on pre-season programmes, psychology, motivation and even how to use a football chaplain to counsel troubled players.
I found our lecture with Sports Chaplaincy chief Mark Fleming fascinating and we are already now in the process of appointing a BSC Chaplain.
If he can be a bridge to the coaches and help any player with problems that may be haunting them off the park we have a duty of care in my eyes.
So the coaching family will grow again from myself, Craig Young, Ally Graham, B Licence candidate Jamie Hamilton, goalkeeping coach and C Licence student Nicola Hardie and physio Katrina Dunn to the new chaplain. The team behind the team.
If I had one word to sum up the benefit I have gleaned from the SFA coaching pathway it would be structure.
Over the last decade I have gradually built my knowledge of how to mould a team both on and off the park.
Next year when I pray I complete my quest successfully Craig will take his A Licence on to ensure we have a depth of experience where it matters most.
Over this season we will do all we can to find time to share new ideas and sessions with our fellow coaches throughout the club.
I feel that is crucial now as we try to build on those six unforgettable days at the end of last season when the 2001s lifted the Scottish Cup before our Lowland team scooped the SFA Challenge Cup.
We are on the map now, we must push on, stretch our minds as coaches.
Scotland, the Land of Excuses where the small-minded too often hold sway, may well be one of the few countries in the world where you’d be questioned for trying to better yourself and the club you work for.
The days of giving it the Fergie hairdryer to players and screaming in their face when they blow it are GONE. Believe me.
I played under a few coaches like that and HATED it. I always vowed if I ever got in a position to influence players – as I am now with BSC Glasgow – I’d have more in my locker.
And this week taught me once more that the future of our game can be in good hands.
Ex-Kilmarnock star Peter Leven, St Johnstone skipper Dave Mackay – who were my coaching partners - former Hibs striker Kevin Harper and new Hearts Under-20s coach Liam Fox can still shine with their boots on.
Every one of them, though, showed they have the football nous to have the right sort of effect on developing players.
New Cowdenbeath boss Colin Nish was on my B Licence course and got a standing ovation from guys who love his chat when he walked into the lecture room after securing his first management job.
From those two Porto Champions League winners to the Lowland bosses like myself, East Kilbride’s Billy Ogilvie and Gala Fairydean Rovers’ Steven Noble the camaraderie grew throughout the week.
Whatever the end result of this year I know I’ll still have to listen to some bar-room genius telling me the badges are a load of b***ocks one night.
Why were Costinha and Maniche there? Well, Mourinho did his badges with the SFA and he ORDERED them to come to Scotland. That’ll do for me.
If you want to get on the SFA coaching pathway go to scottishfa.co.uk and tap into the Coach Education section.