Liam Burns on why he's taking a risk to become Musselburgh Athletic's youngest-ever manager
New Musselburgh Athletic boss Liam Burns admitted he took a risk in taking the reins at the Olivebank club but says every decision in his fledging coaching career so far has been a gamble – and they’ve all paid off.
Burns, who turned 27 last Friday, was announced as the East of Scotland club’s youngest-ever manager on his birthday, joining the East Lothian side from FC Edinburgh where he was first-team coach.
Owner of Technical Edge Coaching Academy, Burns has been coaching since he was 17, having started out with Coerver Coaching before joining boyhood club Hibs where he made his way through the youth ranks.
“I played football when I was younger, I was a good player, I just couldn’t move, I was very slow,” said Burns.
“I was never going to make a career from playing and do what I wanted to do when I was ten-year-old and go on to play for Hibs. I left school at the end of fifth year with very, very little qualifications and my dad said, “You need to do something, you aren’t going to work in an office, that’s not you, why don’t you go and try coaching?”
“I got in touch with my old coach Joe Jones who is the boss at Coerver Coaching, so I started there when I was 17. When I was about 21, I thought, ‘I am going to do this myself’ and I set up my own business.”
Burns joined FC Edinburgh under Gary Naysmith and remained with the club following his departure when Alan Maybury took charge, enjoying the thrill of promotion to League 1 last season through the play-offs.
Leaving the Meadowbank club was never on his horizon until Musselburgh’s approach.
Burns, who takes his side to Oakley United tomorrow, continued: “A few friends said to me “What if the Musselburgh job ever came available, would you consider it?” and I said “Aye, maybe”. I knew that as a young manager the club would give me time, they have a good record with Calvin Shand and Geordie [Kevin McDonald] did really well in his first job, I thought nothing of it and then two weeks later I got approached.
“I gave it a couple of days where I thought about it; it was a hard, hard decision because I knew what I was giving up at Edinburgh City. There is always that bit in your back of your head saying, ‘You need to and try it’, a lot of people said to me “Don’t be daft, you are a first team coach at a higher level and this is going to be a lot more stress, why are you doing it?” but I wanted it to be mine, I wanted my own gig and I thought, ‘I need to go and put myself in there’.
“One of the reasons I took the Musselburgh job because every decision I made has been a gamble. So far, my decisions have paid off and they’ve been correct, so I thought ‘I am going to trust myself’.
“15 years ago, you wouldn’t get a 27-year-old being offered the job, I think that is how the game has developed. Years ago, you would have needed to have played at a really good level or you wouldn’t get respect.”