Borders football coach Dougie Anderson delighted to go pro after landing UEFA qualification

Clovenfords football coach Dougie Anderson with his UEFA pro licence (Pic: SFA)Clovenfords football coach Dougie Anderson with his UEFA pro licence (Pic: SFA)
Clovenfords football coach Dougie Anderson with his UEFA pro licence (Pic: SFA)
It’s been a three-year quest after picking up tips from the top from former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and Milan’s San Siro but Borders sports coach Dougie Anderson is now one of a select band of around 250 Scots to hold a Union of European Football Associations pro licence.

The Clovenfords 59-year-old, currently a coach education manager for the Scottish Football Association and also an assistant coach with Scotland men’s under-19 squad, is chuffed to bits about securing that qualification, telling us: “I’m delighted.

“It’s been a lifelong ambition since way back in the day when I started on my coaching journey.

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“I’d done my certificate courses and eventually did the C licence in about 1995 but I never really thought that, despite having that ambition, I’d be able to attain it, so 20-odd years later, it’s a good feeling to have got the award.

“I did my A licence in about 2005 and started doing the pro licence during the covid pandemic, in 2020, I think.

“It’s supposed to be a two-year process but I missed the previous graduation because I was away with Scotland’s under-19s. There were 20 in our group and about ten of them graduated last year, but they only have graduations every now and again – it’s just how it is – so I had to wait a further 12 months. That means it taken three years fron when I started to getting presented with the award.

“There are 250 coaches with pro licences in Scotland and 20 people get accepted every two years to go for it. It’s quite a small number in the context of the game, so I’m delighted to be within that 250 who’ve got it.”

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Anderson managed to enlist the help of Mourinho, with Chelsea at the time, in his studies while studying for his A licence almost 20 years ago and has kept in touch with the Portuguese 60-year-old, now at Roma, ever since.

He started out coaching as a player-manager, either in midfield or defence, with now-defunct Border Amateur Football Association side Stow over 30 years ago, later moving on to Gala Fairydean Rovers as assistant manager and then co-manager, landing a job as the SFA’s football development officer for the Borders at the same time, a post he held from 2000 to 2010, before taking up scouting for English side Sunderland.

Anderson returned to Scottish football in 2011 as a first-team coach at Cowdenbeath, helping them win Scottish League Two that same season and avoid relegation the year after, then took up the same role at East Fife, later becoming assistant manager to Gary Naysmith there and helping them too win the fourth-tier title in 2016.

Ex-Everton and Scotland winger Naysmith’s move to Queen of the South as manager in December 2016 saw Anderson accompanying him as assistant and he spent over two seasons at the Dumfries club before taking up his current dual post.

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“I played for Stow and was manager there and then went on to Fairydean, so I’m always grateful to them as that was the start of my journey,” he said.

“I’m just so grateful for the opportunities I got at those clubs.”

Despite having taken on managerial roles in the past, it’s more coaching that Anderson’s interested in, he says.

“Managing’s not my main interest, I must admit,” he said.

“That’s one of the first questions that comes up when you do the pro licence – do you want to be a manager or a coach? – and I’ve certainly got no interest in managing at a high level in the professional game.

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“I’ve enjoyed my time with Scotland under-19s, so that’s something that would interest me, managing one of the national youth teams, if that sort of opportunity ever came up.

“I’m happy just now, though, as I’ve got a good balance. It was always one of my ambitions to go into full-time football, so I’ve been very, very lucky to have had opportunities to do that.

“I worked at Queen of the South for two and a half years as a full-time assistant manager in the second tier of Scottish football and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’ve done that and I’ve not really got any aspirations to get back into that, though you never say never.

“Developing players is something I like. When I was at Queen of the South, we had a young striker, Lyndon Dykes, and he’s now a Scotland international. All his success is down to him, but to have played a small part in his journey is something I’m really proud of.

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“What’s most satisfying about the job is seeing young players or coaches progress.

“I’ve always actually enjoyed coaching more than I did playing, which is unusual as most footballers say the best days of their lives were when they were playing. I wasn’t like that. I loved getting into coaching.”