ADAM’S KEEN TO KEEP LEARNING
Ex-Stags boss building future
WHEN a 33-year-old Adam Murray was handed the keys to the manager’s office at Mansfield Town, he was the youngest manager in the Football League.
Struggling at the bottom of League Two back in 2014, the midfielder, who had captained them to the Conference title, quickly set about making his mark.
The Stags comfortably eased their way into mid-table before the following season pushing for the play-offs.
By November 2016, despite being just three points outside the top seven, Murray left Field Mill.
It’s now that Murray realises he made his next move too quick. Determined to get back on the bike sharpish, within a month he was in the dug-out with part-time NonLeague side Boston United, which didn’t pan out as planned.
Murray recently spent six months out of the game before joining Barnsley in the summer and it gave him the first chance to hit reset properly following his departure from Mansfield, where he’d spent a large period of his career.
“I didn’t really see it coming,” Murray told The FLP. “In the three years we were there we took the club from a relegation battle to competing for the play-offs on one of the lowest budgets in the league.
“So I felt at the time I was in full flow. I had a lot of energy, a lot of motivation and I just wanted to get back into the game and continue working through my philosophy. The level didn’t really matter to me, it was more of a passion-driven move I made.
“After coming out of Boston, and then Guiseley (where he was assistant to Paul Cox), I had six months totally out of football where I just reflected on the past few years.
“Not in terms of the clubs I went to, but going to Boston when it wasn’t a full-time club and not being able to work with the players daily – where I think my strengths are – was tougher than I expected. It ended up being a negative move for me and my coaching and management career.
“But it was from a motivation to prove people wrong that I should still be managing at Football League level. That decision then had a detrimental effect probably on the next 18 months.”
Murray wanted to better himself as a coach and believes he is now vastly different to the one who took over at Mansfield. He spent time in schools picking the brains of teachers of varying age groups to improve his understanding of how people learn and techniques that can help him back in the football world.
He scoured that area too, watching other coaches operate, like new Stoke City manager Nathan Jones.
Murray is now head coach of Barnsley U18s, assists with the U23s and does the first team’s work on the opposition.
And he says being involved in a club under German boss Daniel Stendel has been fascinating.
“Being able to watch the work of a manager from a different country who has different ideas has really opened my mind up,” said the 37-year-old. “In the previous jobs I had we were setting up not to lose rather than have the resources to set up to win. With that your philosophy has to be tweaked.
“So to see how a League One club operates and goes about their business means I’m taking lots of ideas on board. The club fits my thinking with the way they want to go about things. I’m really enjoying it.
“It’s a modern club. They have a very modern way of thinking from the top down and they expect the managers and coaches to follow their philosophy. It’s club-driven rather than coach-driven, which is a fantastic model.
“Then working with young men, because of the experiences I had myself in my career, I can relate to them and guide them on their journey. All the while, I know it’s a club who will give young players a chance. It’s a fulfilling role.”
OLD ROLE: As Mansfield boss and, below, lifting the Conference trophy