Stuart Taylor on playing, coaching, managing and influencing Steve Archibald, Victor Munoz and Paul Lambert
An interview with Stuart Taylor, by Callum McFadden for Wireless.
You started your playing career at St Mirren where you played under Scottish footballing legend Steve Archibald. How much did you learn working with him?
“I left school at fifteen to join St Mirren and was at the club for eight years. Overall I had a good time at the club.
“I came when Steve Archibald was at the club and when Spanish footballing legend Victor Muñoz was playing for the club.
“Both took me under their wing and were fantastic with me as a young player. They gave me great advice and I’m still in contact with them to this day.
“When I became a coach I contacted Steve who helped arrange visits to a few clubs in the Catalunya region which was a great educational experience for me as a young coach.
“As a coach I want my teams to play on the front foot and I admire the Spanish style of football so much that I continue to visit Spain on coaching visits to this day. was in Seville, which was another great learning opportunity.
As a player, you won the Scottish Challenge Cup at Airdrie United in 2002 and you and several of your teammates there became managers. What about this group that produced so many leaders?
“It’s funny to think that so many of us in this team have become coaches and managers.
“We were strong-minded and leaders as players and I think that’s reflected in the willingness of many of us to continue in the game on the management side.
“The likes of Kenny Black, Owen Coyle and Sandy Stewart were an integral part of this group and they also had good careers as managers.
“Guys like that had a growth mindset and a natural resilience to any negativity, which I think is fundamentally important to being successful as a coach or manager.”
You worked under former Chelsea assistant manager Billy Reid at Hamilton as a player/assistant manager. What was it like working alongside him?
“My coaching career started at Airdrie under Sandy Stewart as a first-team coach before moving to Hamilton to help Billy.
“I learned a lot from Billy as he was a good communicator and he created a positive environment at the club.
“I learned a lot from all the coaches I worked with in different ways, whether it was tactical approaches to the game or how to effectively manage individual players or a group as a whole.
“It’s important that when you coach players they know that you want the best for them as human beings and professionals and that your motivation is to create an environment where they can achieve success individually and collectively.
“Billy Reid had a great relationship with his players and that’s something that stands out when I remember the time I spent with him.”
You then worked alongside Champions League winner Paul Lambert at various clubs in England such as Aston Villa, Wolves Stoke City and Ipswich Town. What are your fondest memories of working with Paul in English football?
“Working with Paul was a great experience. Paul played in Scotland and German football under top managers such as Martin O’Neill and Ottmar Hitzfeld so he had high standards.
“I learned a lot from him and his philosophy of wanting his teams to be organized and pressing out of position too.
“I was manager of Limerick in the Irish Premier League after Paul came on as manager of Aston Villa.
“I enjoyed my role there but when Paul asked me to join him in the Premier League I couldn’t refuse.
“I went from being a first-team manager at Limerick to being an Under-23 manager at Villa.
“The jump in club size was phenomenal but working at Aston Villa was a delight because working at Premier League level was a joy.
“I was working with top young players such as Jack Grealish and Callum Robinson who went on to play international football.
“The facilities were first class and I stressed to my staff that there was no excuse for putting on a bad training session given the luxury of resources we had to work with on the training ground.
“After three years with him at Aston Villa, we continued to work together at Wolves where I became his assistant manager.
“Wolves are a great club too and I enjoyed my time working there.
“We were tasked with keeping the club in the league and having a cup run if possible, which we did in the FA Cup beating Stoke away, beating Liverpool at Anfield before being knocked out by Chelsea at home in the final laps.
“We worked with some good senior professionals like Conor Coady who was great to work with, as was the rest of the group.
“After Wolves we moved to Stoke City in the Premier League and being an assistant at that level was superb.
“Unfortunately we were narrowly relegated but it was still a great experience to work with international players at the highest level.
“Overall, I learned a lot from working with Paul and from my time in English football in the Premier League and the Football League.”
You returned to being first-team manager with Hamilton Accies for one season in 2021/22. How do you reflect on this experience?
“I want to learn as much as possible and going back into management was something I wanted to do after getting a taste of it at Limerick before joining Aston Villa.
“I worked with Malky MacKay in Ross County before the opportunity to move to Hamilton arose.
“Moving to Hamilton allowed me to be closer to my family, which was vitally important to me at the time, having spent many years traveling due to my job in England.
“When I joined the club we were bottom of the league and I was in charge of keeping the club in the league, which we achieved by finishing mid-table.
“It was a success given where we started from and the players were fantastic. They gave me everything you could ask for as a manager.
Finally, Stuart, what do you hope to do in the future? Would you like to become a manager again or would you agree to work as an assistant?
“I want to be a manager again because I know I have a lot to give in this position and I have good experience from my time in management so far.
“However, I don’t have an ego and I want to know even more about the game so I’m open to the right opportunity because it’s important to find the right club that can allow you to thrive as a manager or as a coach.
“I would also be open to being an assistant coach again provided I am able to work with a coach who I can learn from and who shares similar ideas about how I like to play football.
“Also, I’m currently doing a master’s degree in sports management, so that’s another path I want to explore because I want to build something meaningful in any football club I enter. in any role.”