Development squad first step on list of new Falkirk FC Sporting Director Gary Holt

Falkirk FC new Sporting Director, Gary HoltFalkirk FC new Sporting Director, Gary Holt
Falkirk FC new Sporting Director, Gary Holt
New Falkirk FC Sporting Director Gary Holt has set out his plans which begin with everyone working towards the goal of improving the club.

The 47-year old, who managed the Bairns in 2013/14, says he is excited to get started in his new role and implement his ideas while working alongside both the board of directors and first team managers Lee Miller and David McCracken.

Having moved on from his position as Livingston manager last year, Holt says he’s ready for the next step and is excited to sink his teeth in to this new role.

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"Five minutes into my first interview I was actually buzzing.

"I was like a wee kid in a candy shop, I was thinking that these are proper people who I can work with and are open to ideas, to being challenged and pushed outside their boundaries as I'm going to be.

"Sometimes when you ask a question the answer will be no but it will be for the right reasons because everyone's focus is the club.

"It's not acceptable to say we are a League 1 club, I don't want that mentality around the place because if you buy into that we will stay as a League 1 club.

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"We have to push forward, push boundaries and push the players and staff to be the best we can.

"For me personally I wouldn't have taken the role (If I wasn't stepping away from management).

"It's maybe a bit ahead of schedule in the career path but it's an opportunity and when I sat down and spoke to the people involved and went through the process it got me excited.

"I want to expose the Sporting Director role, I think it's a role a lot more clubs should and probably will implement.

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"There should be a link between the boardroom and the football department, the successful clubs that have it do it very well and it's a role I've always had my eye on."

Holt already has a head start in terms of knowing the Bairns gaffers having worked with Miller at Livingston and having signed McCracken for Falkirk back in 2013.

"Having pre-existing relationships with Lee and David certainly helps because it's not an unknown quantity, we don't need to build a relationship of who we are and what makes us tick.

"They both know me from working for me and know the demands I set that we have to reach.The fact we do know each other allows me to hit the ground running rather than trying to build a relationship with them and getting to know the nuances of both, I know who they are and how they operate.

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"Now it's about expanding that knowledge and pushing to improve, making them the best managers they can be.”

The very first thing on Holt’s list is getting the club out of League 1 but long term the former Livingston manager will be putting in place a development squad which will serve to supplement the first team while also offering local talent a pathway in to professional football as part of the Bairns.

He said: "It's about growing the whole Falkirk brand and getting the club back to the levels we want to be at and probably deserve to be at.

"The first steps for reintroducing the youth development side are learning how to walk at this level before running, it's about being realistic that it's a long term plan.

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"It's not ‘let's get A, B and C’ done by the end of this week, firstly we will be looking about getting a development squad in place.

"People ask if that's an under 23 team but it's not, I'm not looking at an age bracket as it's more about helping the first team but I'll start by exploring players from 16 to about 21, trying to source players and give them opportunities.

"There will be open trials when we can but it won't be closed to people over the age of 23, we will also look at players who have fallen out of love with the game.

"Maybe they've been let go or something hasn't worked at a club or maybe they went down a wrong path and football took a back seat.

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"We will explore the mid 20 age group and boys who want a chance to impress and showcase their talents.

"That's a wee bit further down the line, first and foremost we need to have a full time programme in place that can work alongside and supplement the first team and produce players that will represent this club.

"The development squad will be put in place as quickly as I can facilitate it, I've already started talking to people who I want for the role of leading that group.

"I've touched base with the guy I want to lead that team and hopefully we will get that up and running as soon as we can.

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"We have to engage with the community and offer them the chance to come and work, it's not about being a footballer it's about doing a job.

"These players need to know they are coming here to earn money and training to be a professional footballer.

"The opportunity will be there and it's down to them to grasp it and prove they have the desire to put in the hard graft."