Edinburgh University boss Dorian Ogunro on why it's not getting any easier after 10 years in the job

As Dorian Ogunro prepares to embark on his 11th season at Edinburgh University, the head coach admits each year is becoming more of a challenge to preserve their Lowland League status.

By Neil McGlade
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:33 pm

The students finished third bottom in Scottish football's fifth tier in 2021/2022, 20 points better off than 17th-placed Gretna 2008 and a whopping 26 in the clear of relegated Vale of Leithen.

But with the calibre of player now superior, not to mention the spending power of the league's big-hitters, Ogunro, who succeeded Spartans boss Dougie Samuel ten years ago, says the club are realistic about what the future holds at East Peffermill.

“Last season the core strength of our team came from our younger students having matured so that’s a positive,” said Ogunro, who is just three shy of 400 games at the helm. “But it’s getting harder every year to stay in the league and we’re honest enough to admit that. In saying that, we deserve our place as there are a lot of teams who are champing at the bit to get promoted who had their chance years ago and ignored it.

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Edinburgh University boss Dorian Ogunro is celebrating 10 years in charge. Picture: Mark Brown

“We will try and stay here as long as we can, but the realistically our level might be in the East of Scotland League set-up.

“The ambition of the teams around us in the Lowland League is on another scale. But you want to be competing at the highest level you can for as long as you can."

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Assembling a squad from the university's limited pool of players can be an arduous task, but is what keeps the candle burning for Ogunro, who is also involved in the Scottish Universities side.

“Our biggest problem is our consistency because we don't have our strongest players as often as other teams do,” he explained. “That's not a new problem for us and we do our best to manage it. I’m not complaining about it because it’s just the reality of the situation.

“But the boys love playing against the bigger clubs and testing themselves. We came up against Rangers B last season who had Alex Lowry in their side. That shows you the level you're up against. Other clubs are vying for promotion but that just isn’t a conversation we’ve had.

“Winning the league is not going to happen here. You only have to look at the clubs who have got out of the division and gone on to bigger and better things. But, on the flips side of that, the teams that have come down into the league have yet to find their way back out.

“I enjoy the challenge because I am limited in what I can do regarding player recruitment. Development is a huge part of it. We try to be as professional as possible and you have to be with the clubs and players you are coming up against. You have to try and match those standards, but there will come a time when we won’t be able to and that’s not a slight on the club.

“We're looking at who we’ve got for next season. We can only play four non-students and a lot of our players have gone home which makes it very difficult to start preparing for the year ahead. But I enjoy my time here. I love coaching the players.”