The Big Manager Interview: Dale McCall: Former LEAFA Select Team Manager

Today SAFN has caught up with former @LEAFA_Official Select Manager @dmccall81, who gave us a great insight into the @ScotAmFA game, writes Tom Scott.

Dale responded to a number of various Questions: What was the attraction about becoming LEAFA Select Manager? What was the highlight? Standout players that played for the LEAFA, and against? What is the best prank of wind up you have seen at football? Teams to watch when the LEAFA start back? Players to watch when LEAFA start back?

What was the attraction about being the LEAFA Manager?

“I wanted to try and further my coaching path and I thought this would be a good way, so when I was asked, I said: Yeah, no problem. Then I thought about it some more, and I really wanted to do well because over the past 5/10 years I could count on the one hand how many players actually got a proper shot at the National Select team, and if truth be told, a LEAFA team hadn’t had a good Scottish run or challenge for a while,, and the reputation had dwindled a little, so I wanted to try and show that the LEAFA Region had some good players too, some of which deserved to be noticed.”

What was the highlight of being Select Manager?

“It wasn’t the games or getting to the final of the Region Cup ,or how we had really outplayed the National Select team (would have won it if not for 2 late goalkeeping errors)- actually not like the lad at all).”

“It was the fact that 9 players got themselves noticed, and 6 guys got themselves into the Squad, and for the most part kept their place, receiving phone calls about guys in the squad, or Region that were doing great, and that they deserved and were getting their chance.”

Any Stand-Out Players?

“Thomas Corderry- wasn’t even meant or be selected in the first place due to not seeing him or not being put forward, and then I got a text from his Gaffer saying you’re making a mistake with him, so I got him in and what a keeper that guy has got himself firmly in that squad. Nice lad, too.”

“Ryan Russell (Chucky) the Captain of the squad. Best player I’ve seen at Amateur level for reading the game, looks like he has missed a few pre-seasons (he won’t mind me saying that cause I was the same), but all-round brilliant player. Was told by a high Amateur Official that a certain person in the Select Committee didn’t like him, so he was never Selected.”

“Shaun Martin, George McGregor, Kallum McAuley, Paul McCracken (unfortunately he got injuries), all brilliant individual, and team players- winners, guys you want and need in your team.”

“Scott Miler – the white Usain Bolt,. Bob McKenzie- guy could turn any game into your favour. Cammy Mitchell- guy was playing in the 2/3rd Division, and was such a good player – was so under-rated.”

“In fact, all guys in the squad stood out, and deserved to keep their place. Lots of guys, good players and great players couldn’t make the team for one reason or another, but that’s Amateur Football for you,”

Best Prank I have Seen? – Well, I have been involved in loads , which can’t be spoken about lol.”

“I was on trial with Hibs and I scored 3 goals versus Hearts, and got invited in the next days for a trial. First thing on the Monday morning, one of the Youth Team lads told John Yogi Hughes I had hit a hat trick against Hearts.”

“He comes bursting in and shouts: “Hey…. who is McCall? Gaffer wants to see you.”

“I stood up, walked over. He put his arm around me and was like “Look ,you’ve done brilliant he wants to sign you. After yesterday you are a hero and all this. “Go up to the office, and he says, “Just go in he’s waiting on you, just go in, no need to knock…also, he doesn’t like being called Gaffer. You have to call him Jim, so I did…… and the gaffer Jim Duffy and all his staff were in a meeting, and other people there, too.”

“Must’ve been 15 in the room, and he was like: “Can I help you son? I was like: “Aye Jim, you wanted to see me…. Reply:

“First of all, it’s Gaffer, and second :”Who the f— are you coming into my office of a Monday?”

I said “I’m Dale. I scored 3 against Hearts yesterday, and Yogi told me you wanted to see me.”

“Oh, Yogi did. Well, you tell him I’ll see you later… then after another 5 minutes of chat and backlash I got out and see the entire staff – every person who was in at Easter Road that day – they just burst out laughing and pointing to me.”

“To be fair, I learned from it and from mathematics I was always the guy doing the pranks.”

Teams to watch when the LEAFA starts back?

“Not sure how many teams with still be around, but the normal guys I liked before are: Tollcross, Sandy’s, Edinburgh Star, Meadowbank -all good teams with good players”

“Players to watch – I would say, the usual suspects:- Yuill, Miller, O’Neill all at Tollcross.”

“A host of players at Sandy’s – if not at Whitehall Welfare this year.”

“James Laing was playing for Lothian Vale and he is outstanding.”

“Cammy Mitchell was back playing Amateur.”

“Stu Adam’s was playing for Meadowbank. – I have seen him a few times and he is a very, very good player. Just lacks a bit of pace , but has something different than most players.”

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