Scot Session: Brian Reid

On loan from the land of haggis and shortbread, Brian Reid delivers more than a decade’s worth of football experience as newly installed Coach for Global FC. He may have grown under rule by monarchy, but his multiclub chronicles and European discipline make him the “Awrite! Yer guid!” choice as local commander. Former defender and now a full-time coach, Reid is just about Reid-y for his next challenge, braving the local football storm with Global FC. Global Force, prepare the bagpipes!

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What the Scot!?!?!

Brian Reid, all 6’2” of him, can be quite the imposing figure—especially when plotted in a territory like the Philippines, where most of the folks will have to look up when addressing him. From afar, conversations can be painless, but up close, a stiff neck is quite on the way. And with his blue eyes, an equally commanding physique and rich Scottish accent, Global FC has certainly gone global with this bloke! And global-high expectations are equally set on this former Rangers defender.

Reid grew up in Glasgow doing what a third of young Scots normally did in their youth—play football. For Brian, though, this pastime was elevated into a calling when he attended the young boys’ club during pre-adolescent years and trekked on this road to professionalism.

“I think the biggest factor in me becoming a professional football player was when I was a young guy—maybe six, seven, eight, nine, or ten—I always played with players older than me.”

“Playing against older and better players helped me develop better. I think that’s a major factor.”

Having played most of the positions gave him quite an advantage, and choosing to pursue the defender post was more of a pronouncement rather than a childhood whim.

“When I was younger, when I was playing boys club, I played left midfield, center midfield, and striker. Played on the left, played up front. But it was only when I was about fifteen or sixteen, I was a striker then, doing corner kicks, and then I thought, Maybe I should be a defender?” He was playing for Chelsea’s Under-15 when he had this position-changing realization.

“It was a lot easy to head the ball out than head it on target. I went from attacking the ball to defending it. The rest is history.”

Rangers Scotland football

While many may attest that Reid started out this schooling quite late in the game, his entry to the professional club is exemplary—joining Morton when he was about seventeen years of age.

“My first club was Greenock Morton. I played for their youth club when I was eighteen and then I broke into their first team shortly after. I made my professional debut at eighteen, which was reasonably young.

Three years later, Reid, who grew up as a Rangers supporter, played for the Teddy Bears. “The temptation of my boyhood heroes was too much,” explained Reid. Anybody who has a dream club would never pass up an opportunity to play alongside his childhood heroes. Eventually, he returned to Morton, and after two seasons, he played for several other clubs, including English clubs such as Burnley FC and Blackpool FC. Despite the long list of clubs in his playing career, the Rangers remain the most memorable for him.

Up in the Ayr

In 2006, Reid joined Ayr United Football Club as a player and after a year became Manager.

“I was made a manager after I stopped playing.”

The career shift inevitably complemented Reid’s organizational skills of coaching, supervision, match analysis and scouting. Having played pro most of his adult life was quite the joyride; it was time to put this experience to a more productive perspective, which he has quite a lot in reserve.

Liaising with the media, maintaining that keen eye for unimaginable talent and expertly analyzing matches were once individual functions that fused as Reid became a first-time coach for Ayr United. The transition was not entirely effortless; the challenges he met fell on circumstances other than the newness to the game, which we all know is far from such.

“It was quite difficult. A lot of these players, I’ve played with, had a friendship with. Now I’m a manager. Are they good enough to play for my team?”

Detaching friendship from fair play was Reid’s first test as a coach, one which he was prepared to face and battle if necessary. The result was a better commitment in strengthening the team, a strategy Sir William Wallace could’ve implemented himself.

From a different perspective of teamwork, Reid’s first challenge was to streamline the team structure—a practice he continues to this day. After all, he does share the mantra with firm conviction: A manager is only as good as his players. And getting to know Reid, the man isn’t the type to settle for second best.

“You have to learn decisions when you’re young and adapt to circumstances because every club and circumstance are different.”

Reid was manager of Ayr United for nearly five years. He was a full-time manager of a part-time club in a full-time division. The challenges were endless, but he charged them all to experience. “With age and experience, you obviously develop and get better,” said Reid.

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Reid delivered promotion to the club and supporters twice in three years and managed the team to an unbeaten home league record through season 2008–09. Moreover, he took Ayr United to League Cup semi-finals in 2012 at Hampden Park, where the team knocked out three Scottish Premier League clubs in the process.

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In his final season, Reid helped Ayr United reach the 2012 Scottish Cup quarter-finals despite losing to Hibernian FC. He was also the Irn-Bru Manager of the Month, a testament to his success and character, on five separate occasions. Alas, when Ayr United was relegated again, he decided to end his five-year reign and stepped down as manager.

Reid Award IBN Bru

“Overall, I had a good team in five years. I can look back and say I did a decent job. It’s time to move on after nearly five years.”

Reid by Example

Just because a person has been a fantastic football player does not necessarily translate to tantamount excellent coaching skills—this is what Reid imparted to us based on his life’s lessons. Hence, coaching isn’t 100% gained from the pitch, but while it supplements the comprehension and appreciation, there is also the mixture of experience, leadership and that rare thing we call instinct—the interlocking of such enable a more competent and proactive visionary.

Having gone through several clubs in his lifetime of play, Reid does not weed out the better strategies and weave them into a powerhouse style to call his own. That method simply veers away from the real formula for coaching, if there is a formula at all.

“I think there’s no winning formula, yet. No sure-fire strategies and tactics to victory, either. Every club is different. Every situation is different. It’s about getting a system that suits your players and trying to get success from that. Sometimes decisions don’t go for you. Football is a game of two halves. Anything can happen.”

“You learn things as a player and as an early manager.”

Being adaptable and decisive are two key components in making sound choices, which is a far cry from textbook style leader. There is also the element of experimentation, learning from experience, and a wee bit of ill luck that, when it inevitably comes, Reid shrugs off with “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

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With this tough and stringent background and in-depth know-how of the sport, not to mention his UEFA Pro License, any team that will fall under Reid’s tutelage is sure to be placed under constructive guidance.

When he left Ayr United, Reid was a scout at Bristol City and Falkirk. He was looking for an opportunity to go back to management, and we all have an idea of where in the world he was headed seven months later. With the UK-based One Above Management and Hinko’s global force and connections, Reid and Global FC crossed each other’s paths.

Reid Alert

There was nothing dramatic or fatefully momentous as to how Reid landed in the Philippines or learned about the Global FC vacancy. Straightforward was more like it.

“I must admit that I’ve never heard of Global FC before.”

There was nothing definitive as to his visit, either.

“The plan was to come here 4–5 days to meet Dan and I ended up staying longer. I was meant to go to America to attend a conference.”

However close to accidental was this stopover and introduction to Philippine football, it was his visionary and promising attitude that got him to test the tropical waters and stay on and agree to coach a Philippine-based football club. Perhaps it was the quest to improve something or to create an impact in a place so far-flung that made him take on the challenge.

Reid is aware that working at Global will be a new learning experience. “I’m learning myself and adapting myself to Global. You’re always learning. Even when you’re seventy, you’re still learning.”

“The biggest thing that struck me was the ambition of Dan. Great credit to the game. He deserves the success that he gets. I have a good relationship with him. He’s a very decent human being as well. Deserves good credit. Not many people will do what he is doing.”

With Mr. Palami and Coach Reid aligned in their grand objectives, it was easy for Reid to pack his bags and trade his scarves for shorts. The weather may not have been welcoming for the Scot, but prepared or not, Reid jumped on board with not so much as a grunt. It was “aye, aye” all the way and with a wee bit of excitement for the surprises that may come—which, we assure him, will be endless.

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“Obviously, my job is to try to help him fulfill his ambitions and my ambition. It’s a joint act. And the players as well are all good guys. They want success. In football, you want as much success as you can. Hopefully, we all work together to bring that.”

“Have fun along the way, as they say.” We are certain Coach Reid will. It has begun.

Reid to Succeed

Some questions are not worth asking especially when the answers are quite apparent. Questions about plans and goals no longer warrant a thinking moment since the response is quite mechanical. But still, persistent and hard-pressed as we were, we must proceed with our standard Q&A. For the benefit of the curious.

“What are my plans? To have success as much as possible.”

As for the upcoming President’s Cup where most of Global FC’s preparations are being geared towards.

“President’s Cup is a bonus for us. A new experience for everybody, the Philippines, myself and the players.”

As for the players, surely the coach has something to say. Individual assessments are uncalled for and can be arduous for someone who has encountered foreign sounding names such as Elhabib and Bahadoran for the first time, but collectively: I think they’ve improved.

“We can’t achieve things overnight but for as long as we’re headed in the right direction.”

Doing things the way they should be and training in such a way that matches their skill set and potential are the prime focus. It isn’t winning right away, it’s moving in that direction of victory that brings them closer to their goal.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. But for as long as we’re headed in the right direction, then that’s all you can ask for.”

Scout with It

“I’m always scouting for players. Always looking. You never stop.”

Even during his spare time—when he is not coaching, training and doing a wee bit of math or coffee—Coach Reid finds a sense of comfort in seeking out new recruits and potential players. This has been his practice in Scotland back then, visiting places, watching games and putting his keen eye to productive use. Even here in Manila, the job doesn’t end. He may use this as a pretext to visit places like Cebu or Davao, but then again, we might as well call this a prolific hobby, one that ought to benefit the group.

For those who spot Coach Reid gallivanting and watching games during his idle moments, time to put your best foot forward.

Kilt to Last

While the players of Global FC may scramble with words like “Guid mawnin!” or “Get yer *** here!” the feeling is mutual; the team’s constitution is just as diverse.

Even the coach has some adapting to do and considers his coaching stint here a “learning curve” but nevertheless “a good lesson.”

Players and coaches have a lot to learn and understand from one another, but that is the essence of teamwork and from one where diversity is the regularity. Global FC, being everyone’s club, is certainly the best vantage point for an assortment of members, all of which will contribute to a collectively holistic team. With everyone’s host of experiences, cultural influences and attitude, the result may be skewed but productive as a whole—which is what Global FC stands for. And Brian Reid can add a bit of Scottish zing to this ensemble.

What’s remarkable is that despite his 6’2” stance and Euro roots, Coach Reid knows all about roots and that everything starts from the bottom up, not the other way around.

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“In life, whether you talk to the boss, Dan, or you talk to the kitman, Hervie, you have to treat everyone the same way, with the same respect. You treat people the way you treat yourself. I think that’s important. Do that and greater chance of success.”

Because success isn’t just about winning the game, it’s winning the people too. And that’s what is important for a leader, visionary, ally, and new coach for what we call the People’s Club.

Welcome to Manila, Coach Reid! Have a wee guid steh!

Only at http://www.globalfc.ph!

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