Airdrie yesterday appointed former Montrose manager and Glasgow City Ladies boss Eddie Wolecki Black as the club’s new head coach with the 50-year-old taking over immediately from Gary Bollan who left for Forfar on Sunday.
Wolecki Black left a coaching post with South of Scotland League side Edusport Academy to become director of coaching with the Diamonds three months ago and after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract he wants to develop a homegrown feel at Airdrie.
Wolecki Black said: “It has been a bit of a whirlwind since Gary left but having been here for three months I have had a good insight into what goes on at the club. The strategy when I came in was to develop players for the first team and that has not changed with this appointment. There would have been no point in agreeing a six-month contract to be the manager and losing that strategy.”
In the short term Wolecki Black reckons that improvement will be incremental as he explained: “You cannot promise anything in football but what we want to do is make a step by step improvement every season. Last season Airdrie were pretty close to the play-offs and it would be fantastic to make them this season.”
There are, however, longer-term aims.
“I helped build Glasgow City and before that I did the same at junior side Lochee United but this scenario is different,” he added. “You normally get jobs when teams are struggling, but that is not the case here as the team is competitive. What I have to do is build towards the philosophy on how we want to play the game that is shared by myself, the chief executive Iain King and the chairman Tom Wotherspoon.
“That philosophy involves producing our own players. North Lanarkshire is the third biggest region in Scotland and there are a lot of good young players in this area.
“It has been disappointing to see them disappear to Motherwell and Hamilton who have had a free pick here for a number of years. That is one of the biggest things that we needed to change and it has started changing at a youth level.
“There are young players here that can go into the first team but you have to be careful with when you put them in. We will start preparing them for the first team in the under-20s and it is part of my job to get them into the team.”
Wolecki Black added: “This is an opportunity for me and for lots of people at the club. It is not about the next half a season, it is a real drive towards a vision that we all want to see. I also want the team to entertain and attack and be a team that I enjoy watching.”
Dundee-born Wolecki Black was the Montrose boss a decade ago but left within a year. He said: “I am a far better manager now than when I was at Montrose all those years ago. You learn so much through time and when I look back at that period I realise that I thought I was invincible. Actually you make mistakes but you learn not to repeat those mistakes and learn from the new ones you make. I fully intend to grasp this opportunity.”
Former Motherwell, Falkirk, Hibs and Dundee midfielder Kevin McBride will step up to a player/coach role with Donald Jennow, who also coached at Glasgow City, helping out on the management side as well.