After being appointed as The Shots’ new manager yesterday, we caught up with Barry Smith to find out a bit more about the footballing journey that sees him arrive at The Electrical Services Stadium.
Barry was born and bred in Paisley, south-west of Glasgow, where like most young lads he spent most of his time kicking around a ball in the park… at least until he signed professional terms with Celtic when he had just turned 16, anyway!
Today Barry, 41, is married and has recently become a Dad for the first time, so it won’t just be The Shots causing him a few sleepless nights!
Here’s a brief snapshot of Barry’s football career:
Alloa Athletic (Jan 2014 – Mar 2015)
Dundee FC (Oct 2010 – Feb 2013)
Dundee FC U19’s (Dec 2008 – Oct 2010)
Dundee FC – 359 Appearances
Valur FC (Iceland Premier League) – 43 Apperances
Celtic FC – 22 Appearances
Other clubs: Partick Thistle, Morton, Brechin City
Which team did you support as a kid? That’s an easy one – having grown up in Paisley I started going to watch St Mirren when I was a young lad and got hooked. I don’t get to see many of their games now but I still look out for their results.
Who was your footballing idol when you were growing up? If I’m honest I think I looked up to my mates on the local park more than anything, but I guess it would have to be Kenny Dalglish, who had such a fantastic career.
Who is the best player you have ever played against? As a defender it was always the attackers that caught my eye. There are a few names that spring to mind as great players, but without a doubt the best was Henrik Larsson. His movement, and skill with the ball was fantastic, so it’s no surprise he scored 174 goals when he was at Celtic… and yes a few of them were against my team!
Who is the best player you have played alongside? That would have to be Claudio Caniggia when I was playing at Dundee. He was 33 when he joined in 2000 but hadn’t lost the skill and trickery that he had when he helped Argentina to the 1990 World Cup Final. He made a few mistakes during his career and had a bit of a chequered reputation, but when he joined us at Dundee he was not only a fantastic footballer, but also a really nice guy off of the field, and he did loads of work with the local kids in his spare time.
What are some of the main qualities you expect from your players? First of all they’ve got to want to win – that’s what the game is about, and you only achieve that by working really hard and giving everything for the team, so I expect real commitment from players. I want lads who want to learn and improve their game however experienced they are, and also have the technical ability to get the ball down and play passing, attacking football.
Which Barclays Premier League manager do you admire most? You’re probably expecting me to say Mourinho or van Gaal here, but to be honest I really admire managers who deliver the best results with what’s available to them. I’m not saying it’s easy for the guys at the top, but they do have massive budgets available! I’ve worked with a lot of managers over the years, and you try and pick up some of the best bits from all of them.
Who would be in your Fantasy Football starting 11? OK, here goes: De Gea, Walker, Terry, Van Dijk, Baines, Wanyama, Xavi, Ronaldo, Messi, Hazard, Kane
Finally, what are you looking forward to most about joining The Shots? I can see lots of potential in the Club, and I know that the last few seasons haven’t been great for the supporters, so I’m just looking forward to getting started with Chris and trying to put a smile on the supporters’ faces. When I first visited The Rec I was blown away by the quality of the pitch, which must be one of the best in the country. I know it won’t be like that at lots of the grounds we’ll visit during the season, but it looks like a great surface to play good entertaining football on. Also I’m really looking forward to relocating my family down somewhere close to the club, and Bridges Estate Agents, the Club sponsor, are giving us loads of support with this, which has been a great help. I’ve heard a rumour that I’ll be able to get a decent pint in The Crimea too!
We look forward to talking to Barry more over the next few weeks as he gets his feet under the table.