JOHN McGLYNN was interviewed for a job coaching Manchester City’s under-14s before a call from nowhere led to his appointment as Livingston manager.
The 51-year-old replaces Richie Burke, who agreed to step down at the West Lothian club yesterday.
The swift change ends a six-month period of unemployment for McGlynn after his sacking at Hearts in February this year. He revealed today how he applied for positions at all levels of football across Britain in an effort to stay in the game.
He was interviewed by Manchester City for a role within their youth academy and admitted he would happily have returned to youth coaching despite holding management roles at Raith Rovers and then Hearts since 2006.
Livingston moved swiftly to replace Burke with McGlynn yesterday after the Liverpudlian left his role, with personal reasons given as the explanation for his exit. McGlynn was both surprised and delighted to get the call.
“I applied for a number of different jobs within football,” he told the Evening News. “I applied for jobs in England at youth academy level and I had an interview at Manchester City for a job coaching their under-14s. It never materialised but it was a great experience to go through that process.
“I’ve worked my way up from the very bottom. I didn’t start at the top and I have vast experience of coming through the youths so it doesn’t faze me at all to work with youths. I didn’t just want to twiddle my thumbs and sit on my backside. I wanted to be as pro-active as I could to get back into football.
“I was six months out of work [after Hearts]. It was the first time in my life being out of work so it was a bit alien to me and it’s not been enjoyable. To put a lot of effort into it when you were working and to then find yourself cutting the grass every day wasn’t ideal. My grass has never been shorter, to be honest.
“I helped Scotland Under-19s out with Ricky Sbragia and I absolutely loved that. It gives you the motivation to hang in there and wait till something crops up because it is a waiting game. Towards the end of last season, I went down and saw Steven Pressley at Coventry, and recently I’ve been helping my nephew David out at Musselburgh Athletic. That got me back out on the training ground barking at players. You miss the banter round about a training ground.
“Despite all that effort, Livingston came to me out of the blue.”
McGlynn was interviewed for the job at Almondvale prior to Burke’s appointment in March. The impression he created on the Livingston board then was a lasting one. “I hope that was the case so I’m pleased about that. They are a good football club with a beautiful stadium,” he continued.
“There are good players and a talented squad there, plus they have a good youth policy in place. There have been players coming through for a number of years like Leigh Griffiths, Graham Dorrans, Robert Snodgrass, Murray Davidson, Andy Halliday and others.
“There are one or two there who could potentially move. That’s going to be the name of the game – trying to produce players, establish them and give them experience and then clubs like Livingston will need to sell players on to continue to exist. That’s how it’s going to be.”
McGlynn had yet to finalise his contract as of this morning but he will be in the dugout at Almondvale tomorrow as Livingston attempt to move off the bottom of the Championship against Morton. Assisted by Mark Burchill, he is Livingston’s eighth permanent manager in six years but stressed he is not concerned by the frequent turnover over of coaches.
“That’s the challenge you take. I can sit and wonder whether Livingston are going to sack me in so many weeks or months, or I can take the job and show what I can do. That’s exactly what I intend to do – give it my all. If I can get the same from the players then I’m confident we’ll be successful enough.
“When I was at Raith Rovers I saw Livingston playing a really good style of football. I’m looking to try and continue that and I’m hoping it will bring results. With results, you can climb the table. It’s not nice being down at the bottom of the league.
“When you’re in a ten-team league, it only takes a few games to climb that table. I’m not going to say an exact position we’re going to be in but I do know the players are there to take us to the other end of that table. I’ve got an excitement and an enthusiasm and I just want to get started.”