We are here again for some talkative chat about all things football, this time some added variety.
So without further hesitation let’s make some introductions
Hello, I’m Craig Joyce. Former Glasgow City youth coach and current owner of 6, 8 or 10. I also work for the Scottish FA.
A coach? We like coaches on the column, Tell us more.
I began coaching at a relatively young age (16). As my first guest on the 6, 8 or 10 podcast, James Docherty highlighted I think I always had the coach hiding inside me as a youngster, I would always be one of the kids in the group/team who would organise and talk. If you know me personally I like to talk, I talk a lot, especially about football.
When I was a youngster at Hamilton Accies I done my first coaching badge Early Touches with Jim Chapman. We all done it, as part of our daily routine we would coach before we trained. It came as part of the package when we signed. At that point I didn’t think i would ever go on to coach, my dad was a coach and some of his friends were. I thought I’d leave that up to the guys who’s profession it was, I was happy playing and saw that as my future.
During pre-season I also done some work with Rangers, helping coach at their Residential Camps. Again I would do this when I wasn’t training on a voluntary basis. I just wanted to gain experience of coaching with different people, you can always learn something from someone. I coached with Alan Boyd, Davie Stewart, Scott Allison, Craig Mulholland and Brian Reid. I also got to coach with ex Rangers players Alex Clelland and Steven Wright who were great with me.
Even though I began my coaching journey at the age of 16 I still wasn’t that interested in doing it. I was always training or playing, enjoying my football. It was maybe 5 or 6 years later I would consider even taking my badges again and stepping into the world of coaching. I would explore college and have alot of time for the people who helped develop me in that environment; Alan Simpson started the process by visiting me at my house on a Friday night before a gig. I enrolled on the Monday and the rest was history.
I have to thank the people who helped me over those 2 and a half years; Angus, Nicola, Peter, Elspeth, Graham, Donna and Alan. They had a lot of time and patience for me.
When I stepped into college I could comfortably say that my playing days where coming to an end. I was 22 years of age, officially retiring from playing the game I loved. Some serious injuries would hinder me, they would heal and eventually become niggling injuries – ones that I couldn’t shake off. (Cue the tiniest violins in the world!) Looking back it was the aftermath of playing through injuries, my body was a mess/still is a mess. By then my head was also a mess, it was no longer in it and my love for the beautiful game was dying a slow death.
College, Rangers, The Scottish FA and Glasgow University would pave the way for me to coach and enjoy the game again. My appetite was back and I was hungry to develop as a coach and as a person. I’ve had help from some great people along the way too many to name but if my dad never encouraged me to do it I would probably be wasting myself doing something I didn’t enjoy.
All of the above lead me to the club I’ve just left and adore, Glasgow City.
Your former colleague Tommy was on chatting before, he mentioned some magnificent success stories as part of the record breaking group of players you coached, anything you would like to add?
If I’m honest my time at City opened up my eyes to Girls & Women’s football, I had been involved in the female game before but this would be my first time in taking a team. My time there taught me a lot about patience, building relationships with parents, people at the club and most importantly the players. I’m a big believer in knowing your players, get to know them as best you can and help develop them on a playing and personal level. Glasgow City would allow me to explore myself as a person and find my style of coaching.
I went to City under the impression that I would be working with Tommy, who I had discussed the club on many a Monday night at Regional Squads. Little did he know he was selling me on a move to the club at the time! A week later I would have my own squad of kids some who had just made the transition from 4 asides to 7s. A challenge in itself but that was the great thing about it, a clean slate with some kids and coach who were developing. We would be the development squad and had a pretty impressive first season together, the second season would show further development as well as picking up a trophy (the league cup) against a very strong and talented Celtic side. We were still a young side and showed we could compete at a performance level.
At the end of that season Tommy announced his retirement, some players moved up to the 15s and I would inherit his squad, a merge between the Blacks & Oranges.
We began pre-season with 1 goal in mind – to gel the squad quickly, the Oranges & Blacks have never played the same way or formation so it was import we were all comfortable with each other, as well as my methods and style of play. It never proved an issue and we had a great pre-season, our goals for the season were set and we embarked on an incredible journey.
If you followed the season, which you did then you would see we racked up and incredible amount of goals, conceded some but that was always going to be the case in our terms of direct, attacking play. It would sometimes leave us short, suspect to the long ball. Over time Complacency would be our biggest opponent and thankfully the group never let it set it. They went unbeaten in all competitions, League, League Cup, A Memorial Tournament & the Scottish Cup. Hard work, dedication and some very talented young kids made it all possible.
My time at City was great when I was left to my ways and allowed to coach. Being a volunteer you can pick up a hell of a lot of roles out with the coaching. I don’t mind them but it can take its toll and focus off the most important thing, the players.
At the beginning of the season I made my mind up that I would leave at the end of the season, in June I made the parents & players aware. That was hard as I’ve made some great friends through the club. Nothing changed – they didn’t take the foot off the grass and continued as we meant to go on. As far as I was concerned I had done my job at City, developed the group I had worked with over three years, got players into Regional & National Squads, won 6 trophies and played some beautiful football in the process of it all. Job done.
That group of players were special, every now and then that can happen in football. We set our goals and objectives for the season and went above and beyond. We went about our business of developing the players while implementing a winning mentality. Last season was 3 years in the making, a hell of a lot of time was invested into it and the results have been incredible.
Well I’m not coaching yet, I’ve decided to take some time out of the game and recharge the batteries.
So with you taking the career break what keeps Craig Joyce busy these days?
I own my own brand – 6, 8 or 10 which consists of my own blog, podcast and some pretty cool merchandise. It’s all about life and the beautiful game (who would have guessed). I’m a connoisseur of the game and have a very obsessive relationship with it, just in case you haven’t noticed. The response to the blog and podcast have been great and the guests we have had have been top class too. We have some merchandise available just now. Does anyone want a pin badge? Only £2!!!!
I’m on a sabbatical from coaching although I do think about it now and then but I haven’t got itchy feet quite yet. The idea was to do nothing for a year but I’m going to join up with the West RPS with my good mate Laura Williamson. I look forward to that, something to keep me occupied out with the podcast and blogs, one night a week sounds great.
As far as club football goes I won’t be back involved until the end of this current season which hasn’t even begun yet, so anyone who had money on me being back involved anytime soon hand over the cash you’ve just lost your bet ha-ha!
I have spoken with some clubs and have agreed to join one at the end of the season, starting fresh for next season. Who? I can’t tell you that but I look forward to it and hope to see some familiar faces when I’m back involved. It will be a new challenge for me but for now my focus is fully on developing 6, 8 or 10.