Barrowman in love with game again after trial
Experienced striker finally thinks of himself after helping organise successful showcase for clubless pros
ANDY BARROWMAN insists it is now time to start looking for a club for himself after devoting his every waking hour to linking up more than 30 jobless professionals with managers who may just be able to resurrect their careers.
The well-travelled striker was responsible for arranging, in conjunction with PFA Scotland, a week of coaching sessions and education programmes at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld which culminated with a trial match attended by a host of scouts and coaches from all levels of the senior game.
Gary Locke, the Kilmarnock manager, ran the rule over the 35 players in action on Saturday along with other bosses such as Barry Ferguson of Clyde, Dumbarton’s Stevie Aitken, Colin Cameron of Berwick Rangers, Cowdenbeath’s Colin Nish, Darren Dods of Brechin City, Dunfermline Athletic’s Allan Johnston and the Dundee United assistant Darren Jackson.
Barrowman, released by Dunfermline at the end of the season, admits that he had been feeling despondent over the state of the game and his place within it prior to organising the project that provided a stage for the likes of the former Hamilton Academical midfielder Jon Routledge and Raith Rovers and Dundee stalwart Iain Davidson.
He claims to have emerged from it with a new-found love of the game to the extent that he made a point of expressing his gratitude to every footballer present before they went their separate ways after the final whistle.
“I was there in the same situation as the players, without a club,” said the 30-year-old.
“I must admit that I was a wee bit disheartened with football when we started. It is a tough game at times, but working with those guys made me rediscover my hunger.
“I hadn’t thought about chucking it, but a new manager came in at Dunfermline with new ideas and I was left scraping around looking for another club.
“The lads I worked with, though, have given me that hunger back. I enjoyed every minute of my time with them and I have told them all that I hope I never see them again, other than on TV playing for their new clubs.
“Managers coming along to the trial game to look at players actually showed a bit of interest in me.
“It has been a long, hard week with lots of organisation. Now we’ve done our bit to get the other boys a club, I can maybe look at getting myself sorted.”
Barrowman is currently studying for a business degree and admits that, although open to all offers, he would be happy with a part-time contract to allow him to continue planning for the longer term in an industry that currently offers limited security, in Scotland at least.
“I have had the same kind of uncertainty over the past couple of seasons and you are living year to year,” he said. “I have completed two years of a business management degree and have one year left of that.
“I am putting the plans in place for later life and we will see what happens.
“I do the studies online. It is actually a Danish university that hosts the course and you catch up through webcams and classes that have been filmed.
“There are professional athletes from all over the world on the course. It is about the business side of sport.”
Barrowman reports that finding a job is becoming hard for professional footballers, even those in their late 20s, because of the financial predicament facing the sport.
“A lot of full-time teams are actually operating on a part-time budget,” he said. “You get to the age of 28 or 30 with families and mortgages and it is just not sustainable any longer with the money on offer.
“I think more and more players will go part-time and work in another job. Many are doing it just now.”
BRAINS BEHIND TRIAL: Stuart Lovell, DPS Group Director John Green, Mark Wilson, Fraser Wishart and Andy Barrowman