Today I feature what Gary Hamilton has described as a “No Holds Barred Interview”, writes Tom Scott.
Gary spent a huge amount of his own time on my latest “Big Manager’s Interview”, and once again he is right behind Scottish Amateur Football News, giving his own opinions and thoughts on a number of questions.
Gary also shoots straight from the hip when he talks about the game needing a “shake.”
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PLAYING CAREER?
My Amateur career started with Dynamo EK when I was 17, the two Managers were absolutely mental, in a good way. One lawyer and one dentist I learned so many life skills from both of them and I’ll be forever greatful to them for that. After that season I ended up at Patrick for a season playing in the BP Youth Cup Team.
Another spell at the Dynamo after a season at Under 21 led me to leave and join EKYM. Had spells at Muirend, Giffnock, Weirs, EKYM, Carluke Hearts, Newmilns and Knockentiber.
WON ANY HONOURS IN FOOTBALL?
Inaugural SAFL Premier Division Champions with Dynamo EK. Queens Park Challenge Trophy Winners – EKYM. Lanarkshire Cup Winners – Carluke Hearts. Ayrshire Premier League – Newmilns.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT COACHING AND MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE?
EK Ams: I stopped playing and took them over, and took them into the Csafl when I was 30. Before going back to play with St Roch’s.
Muirend: I managed them for a short time and got them going in the right direction until we had an ill fated game against Giffnock North. I resigned as I got the game abandoned. Big lesson learned there.
Coached EKYM after I left the Scotland job, and we successfully won the Presidents Cup that season. This was the first trophy the Club had won since the Queens Park Trophy win when I played for them.
Ferguslie Star: I helped them out in the background for a couple of months, they went onto win the Cup and Promotion that season.
Stewarton United: Three seasons there, and was by far the best ran Amateur Club I’ve been involved with. I was delighted to lead them to the first division title in my second season. The third season saw them get to the last 16 of the Scottish, and West Cups, and secure their status in the Premier League. A great club and I hope they have a great season ahead.
Current Club: Castlemilk Dynamo:
Been in charge for a year and had three games A great team of footballers, and their will to win is second to none.
HOW WAS YOUR TIME WITH THE NATIONAL AMATEUR SQUAD?
I really enjoyed the Scotland set up. The Manager was my old Manager at Newmilns, Bruce McNaught. We were out watching over 70 games a year for two internationals. We managed to in-still the Club mentality in them. I got bored with the lack of it. I meant on a week to week basis, and accepted an offer to go to EKYM.
One great part of the trips was meeting all the different League Representatives. We all need to remember that without all these volunteers, we wouldn’t have the game we all love.
HAVE PLAYERS’ ATTITUDES CHANGED IN YOUR OPINION?
Players have changed over the years and we’re seeing this as the number of teams dwindle. Shift work plays a big part in players not training etc, and the costs do not help. £70 for an hours training, and £100 for a game means clubs could be paying out over £700 a month for facilities. That doesn’t include paying for referees. Costs are escalating out of control, which means players are shelling out a lot of money to play. They can exercise for a tenner at Gyms now. I’ve been lucky at all the Amateur Clubs I’ve been involved with that the training numbers have been good, that’s due to ensuring they don’t get the same thing every night.
HOW HAS TEAM-BUILDING BEEN DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I’m lucky that I’ve managed to assemble a great team around me at Castlemilk, Davy Bolland who’s got his A License, Davy Murray, who was the Blantyre RGM Manager last season, and Graeme Dempsey, who was with me at Stewarton. I only wish I had this group in my previous role.
There’s a squad of 22 at the Dynamo, and we’re all really excited about the challenge next season in the CSAFL Premier League. I think that we only need one more player in the squad as we’re a little light in one area, I’m trying to sign one of my former players. He’s playing hard to get just now.
One of the most decorated Sunday teams of all time have adapted well to Saturday football. They have plenty of youth in the squad along with some great experience being offered by the Hewitt Brothers, and Alan Semple.
Getting Dom Larkin back from Pollok was a fantastic coup for us and he’s been very complimentary to the things we as a Management team are doing.
WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS AND AMBITIONS MOVING FORWARD?
I think Amateur Football needs a shake and I’m sure the well organised Amateur teams will all end up in the Pyramid System, and the rest of the Amateur teams will end up back playing Sunday Football. A little controversial I know, but that’s my opinion. There’s far too many League Associations. My first season Amateur in the Scottish Amateur League we were in the old First Division, there was 10 Leagues and two Reserve Leagues too.
We’ve lost the Lanarkshire and West of Scotland Leagues in the last 10 years, and look at the famous Clubs that have gone – Newmilns, Eddlewood, Knockentiber, Clark Drive and Muirend to name some of them.
We could see a change of the guard, and the main trophies could go East.
Hope this helps. Gary Hamilton, Manager, Castlemilk Dynamo.