BROWN FERGUSON TALKS ABOUT HIS CAREER AND NEW ROLE WITH THE WARRIORS
Interviewed by our Club Reporter
Despite setting out to concentrate on the reserves last season, Brown Ferguson ended up playing many vital games for Stenny firsts before taking over as caretaker manager, so it was natural to check with Bomber if he really had retired from playing this term. “I think so, yes I have, The body is telling me that as well,” he said.
However, the lack of playing has not diminished Bomber's passion for the game and for the Warriors, he said: “The role I have here and the role I enjoy is full on and I need to be focused on that so yes, I am retired, it is a difficult change, a difficult transition as such, but it is the right thing for me and the role I have I am enjoying and it needs my full attention.”
A major factor in making that transition easier was the working relationship Bomber has with manager Scott Booth, the two of them hitting it off even before they had met. “Straight away, there was a lot of contact and conversation over the phone and even from that distance without meeting face to face we got on well, we were on a similar wavelength,” said Ferguson, adding: “Then we met up for the first time and straight away the work we did felt very natural, the way we complimented each other. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and have learned so much from him already. From my perspective my education and development has been first class.”
Both the gaffer and Bomber have knowledge of the full time environment, albeit in different sports. As an organiser and fixer for many athletes, including members of Scotland's Commonwealth Games team, helping them to organise full time training and their personal working lives, Bomber needed to be an organiser and be methodical about his approach. Booth is also meticulous in preparation, therefore it was probably natural their partnership should quickly flourish, although Ferguson knows that this approach can work at all levels.
“We are in a part-time environment, the gaffer has come from the top level of football and he will have learned a lot of professional behaviours over his period and he will try to introduce that,” said Ferguson, who added: “I am working with different sports where they are training full time but have other considerations in their life which most full time footballers do not need to consider too much, but I can see how our professional behaviours will work. We are now in a part-time environment but we are trying to make it as professional as we can and support the players to do so.”
The similarity of attitude has been a great help here with Ferguson saying: “We are both on the same wavelength although we both have different experiences and so far thingshas been going well, but, the biggest thing for me is that the players are buying into it, they are embracing it and I think they can see that three nights training is a benefit and that all the things the manager is introducing is to try to make us a better team. Hopefully that will reap rewards in the longer term.”
Following a successful term as caretaker it would have been natural for Ferguson to consider going into management and a job at an old club, East Stirling, came up at the end of last season but Bomber confirmed he had no intention of moving on. “None at all,” he said, adding: “Nobody knows what will happen in the next six months or a year, nobody has that crystal ball and all I want to be doing is to be striving towards is operating at the highest level I can, in whatever capacity that is, whether it is in my work or whatever. I have obviously had a taste of the Commonwealth Games with other sports, or with my work here. That is my ambition and there are so many routes to that but obviously my love and knowledge is based on football but nobody knows what the years will bring. As far as any other jobs, I have not considered looking at any because I realise the opportunity to work with Scott and work at the club here is a massive opportunity and one I feel, when I see all the pieces coming together, realise could be a really good platform for myself.”
Working with athletes in other sports also gives extra insights into training styles and methods and this is another positive Bomber brings to the management team. He said:“You can technically look at ways other people work and you can look at how other sports operate technically. But the biggest learning I have taken from other sports is probably is how they develop their sessions with respect to the philosophy they take on and how they try to get their athletes to interact. In the really positive training groups that I see, the athletes take ownership, the athletes are the ones who are looking to drive things forward and it is not all dictated by the coach. From my learning, there needs to be a focal point with information coming from the coach, but with the players themselves driving things forward.
“They must believe in themself, believe in what they are doing and believe what they are doing is for a purpose and to make them better as a person and a team. The character on and off the pitch can be two totally different things, but if someone is happy in themselves on and off the pitch, great, and that is what we are trying to work towards.”
The move to three nights training is new for Stenhousemuir's league but not something Ferguson thinks is too great a step. He said: “It is bigger than us, if you look across Scandinavia, Cyprus, and other part-time nations, they do more than the two nights work. There is a purpose to why we have gone to an extra night but there will be times we need to reduce that because the players will need a bit of time off because they have families, work and other commitments but, fundamentally, what we are trying to do is make every single one of us better.”
The Booth approach is certainly more cerebral than other Stenny managers but thinking about the game is something vital in the eyes of Ferguson, as is the style of play the Warriors are trying to embrace. Ferguson agreed: “Thinking is the right word, it is a lot with the players and myself, thinking about what we are doing and what is the purpose of it and it is finding the balance of what we are conditioned to and used to and how we are going to get better. I do not want to run the club down but we have never won a championship and I am not saying we are going to win a championship but we have to ask are we going to, doing what we have always done?
“So to try to be better we need to make a slight change. I believe the players are getting physically stronger and tactically better but it will take a bit of time for all we have done to become natural on a Saturday. But I see a lot of it in the players we have and fingers crossed we will go on that way and progress.”