Stuart King On Managing Carrick Rangers And Learning Under David Moyes As A Young Player

Stuart King On Managing Carrick Rangers And Learning Under David Moyes As A Young Player

An interview with Stuart King, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

You are currently the manager of Carrick Rangers and recently surpassed 100 games in charge of the team. How do you reflect on your time at the club so far? 

“I am delighted with my time at the club so far because I arrived at Carrick Rangers from Banbridge Town and the job was a big step up for me.

“Managing in the topflight was always the ambition for me and we have gradually improved year on year since I’ve been here, and we are competitive within the NIFL Premiership which is always the aim for us.

“The aim for me is to continually improve the club during my time in charge and I am working tirelessly to do that.”

The NIFL Premiership continues to grow in terms of exposure and investment into the clubs within it. What is it like to manage in the league with those changes?

“I love the league and testing myself against the best managers and the best teams in the country.

“I played at the top level as a player and to now be at the top level as a manager is what I’ve always wanted to do.

“I love taking my team to the bigger sides and competing against them as underdogs because we know we are capable of beating anyone on our day.”

Before becoming manager at Carrick Rangers, you coached at Ballyclare Comrades and managed at Banbridge Town. How much did you learn from those experiences?

“Those experiences were vital for my development.

“I enjoyed coaching, but I wanted to be a manager and Banbridge Town is my local club who gave me that opportunity.

“I learned so much from my time there as we did not have an abundance of resources, so I had to get my hands dirty on the training ground and strive to make as many improvements with players by coaching them and learning along with way.

“We had to fight for every point at the club and that environment really set me up to be where I am today.”

You started your career at Preston North End and worked under David Moyes. What are your memories of that time as a young player?

“David Moyes has a link to Northern Ireland because his mother is from here so that was a connection that we had right away.

“He was the first person into the training ground and the last to leave. He set high standards, and he demanded the best from everyone that worked for him.

“I try to do that in my career as a manager now and I learned that from him because he learned the ropes at Preston before getting the opportunity to manage Everton and Manchester United.

“He was hard to impress, and he took no prisoners, but I owe him a lot from what I learned under him.”

You played in Scottish football with Ross County and Queen of the South and also at Oldham Athletic. What were those experiences like?

“I loved every minute of those experiences, but I’ll be honest and admit that I was not good enough to play for Preston at that time as a young player.

“That was the reality and that was why I moved on loan to those clubs. I am grateful for my time at each of them as they were learning experiences that enabled me to return home and establish myself as a footballer at Linfield.”

You won everything that there was to win in Northern Irish football with Linfield. How proud was that for you having returned home from England?

“I loved every moment of my time at Linfield because I was playing for the biggest club in the country and we experienced consistent levels of success and created many amazing memories.

“Working under David Jeffrey was an unbelievable experience for me because he is one of the greatest managers that we have ever produced in Northern Ireland.

“I am still close to him now and can ask him for advice any time which means a lot to me.

“He took my game to another level as a winger and his man management was crucial to getting the best out of me.”

You also worked under Scottish Cup winning manager Tommy Wright at Ballymena United. How much did you learn under him?

“Tommy was great for me, and he took me from Linfield to Ballymena.

“His style was different to David because he gave you the freedom to express yourself as an attacking player. He built the team at Ballymena around me which was incredible for my confidence and performances.

“He is now the manager of the Northern Irish Under 21 side and it is no surprise to me that he achieved great things in his managerial career after Ballymena United.”

Finally, Stuart, what are your aims for the future as a manager?

“My full focus is on improving things at Carrick Rangers year on year while I am at the club.

“Longer term, I want to be a full-time manager because I believe in my ability and I hope that can be with Carrick Rangers in the coming years as we strive to become a full-time club.

“As a player, I played for the biggest clubs, and I want to do the same as a manager. I want to reach the highest level possible.

“I know that it will take a lot of hard work to do that, but I never shied away from hard work as a player, and I do not shy away from it as a manager.”

Featured image courtesy of Carrick Rangers.