Stevie Farrell On Learning From Tony Lacey At Stoke And Managing Stranraer

Stevie Farrell On Learning From Tony Lacey At Stoke And Managing Stranraer

James Rowe spoke to Stranraer manager Stevie Farrell for WFi. They discussed the challenges of managing a club on a tight budget, his time at Stoke City, and ambition to become a full-time manager. 

As manager of Stranraer FC in Scotland, how are you enjoying management and what do you view as the challenges of managing Stranraer?

“First of all, I am enjoying management and particularly the coaching side more than the bureaucracy side of it. I enjoy being on the training pitch coaching and developing players and trying to make players better.

“At a provincial club like Stranraer, the challenges are primarily financial. Budget wise we are a part-time club competing with other part-time clubs and some full-time clubs in the division.

“We also have the lowest budget in that division, so those financial challenges are extremely demanding at times and it can cause a problem in terms of transfer availability and bringing players to the club.

“Players like what they see in terms of the football club and also what they hear that we can give to them in the coaching aspect of the game, but unfortunately our financial position means that sometimes we are not in a position to move on certain transfers.”

You came through the youth setup at Kilmarnock F.C. Did you learn anything specific at the club which stood you in good stead for your career as a professional footballer? And how do you reflect on your time at the club?

“I did, I joined Kilmarnock when I was 12 and then I left to join Stoke City at the age of 16.

“I spent four years at the club and I would say that youth football at that time was better. It was very demanding and the coaches were very technical and they really helped me to develop at that stage of my career.”

With Stoke City being a well-known club in English football, how do you look back on your time there and do you have any particular highlights or memories?

“I would say that my time at Stoke City was my most educational time as a professional footballer.

“I had a coach in Tony Lacey who was in charge of youth development at Stoke for many years, and after that he went on to be head of the academy at Wolverhampton Wanderers before retiring. I played under him from the age of 16 right the way through until the age of 20. He is until this day the best coach that I have ever worked with. He taught me a lot as a young player and I believe that some of the things I learned from him at the age of 16 I am still using today.

“Leaving Scotland to go and play professional football in England made me grow up very quickly. It was an education both on and off the pitch and it was a fantastic experience for me.

“I made my professional debut for Stoke City at the age of 17 in a midweek match against Watford FC at Vicarage Road, and I will never forget that. It is great to look back and have fond memories of that time in my life.”

Finally Stevie. How would you describe your managerial philosophy and what you ideally like to achieve in your managerial career?

“I would say that my philosophy is based on my players. I often say that. Any manager can have a philosophy when they are managing at the biggest clubs with the best resources. It is easier to have a definitive philosophy because you are able to spend big money and buy players for the football club that match that.

“When you are at a provincial club such as Stranraer, or any other club, you have to adapt your philosophy in relation to the footballers you are able to bring to the club.

“I like to attack and be creative, but also mindful that we must get our defensive shape right. I pride myself in being organized both in and out of possession where we try to be as good as we are, and that we always strive to improve.

“I believe in my ability as a manager. I would like to go into full-time management and all I can do is keeping working towards that and maybe a full-time club will look at my record and speak to the players and the people that I have worked with.

“Everything in football management is about timing, and hopefully somebody believes that it is my time in the future and I will have the opportunity to work at a bigger club with better resources, and then go on to work full-time, every day on the training ground. That is the aspiration that I have for the future.”