Iain King: Lessons from my UEFA A Licence

  • Sport Careers Agency writer underwent A licence course at St Andrews in 2015
  • Learned alongside star names Costinha and Maniche
  • Rejects criticism of UEFA badges

SPORT CAREERS Head of Content IAIN KING this summer successfully completed his UEFA A Licence coaching badge at St Andrew’s in Scotland.

Here Iain, who has coached both East Kilbride FC and BSC Glasgow to trophies in the Scottish Lowland League, looks back on the start of that A Licence journey… and the chance to rub shoulders with two very special classmates.

COSTINHA lasers the 50-yard diagonal wide to King, first-time cross to Maniche. GOOOAAALLL!

That wasn’t another one of those football fantasies I still have in my sleep even at the age of 49. It actually happened, honest.

In the summer of 2015 I spent nine days living in the football bubble at the National Sports Centre in Inverclyde where I began my quest to land my SFA A Licence.

This year-long adventure, which would end with my successful examination in St Andrew’s this simmer, was the culmination of a decade-long adventure. My quest 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.

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.

“I don’t need to badges to be a good coach”. 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.

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 I’d have more in my locker.

My A Licence 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, former Hibs striker Kevin Harper and new Cowdenbeath head 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.

From those two Porto Champions League winners to the Lowland League bosses like Gala Fairydean League Rovers’ Steven Noble the camaraderie grew throughout the week.

Even now I am the proud owner of my UEFA A Licence, 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, Jose 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.

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