Graham Spiers: In Conversation with Ian McCall, Friday May 24, Gaiety Theatre, Ayr.

by Calum Campbell.

AT the Gaiety Theatre on Friday, four-time Scottish Sports Journalist of the year Graham Spiers interviewed Ayr United manager Ian McCall in front of an audience that included not only United fans but those of other clubs with which he has been associated.

In a frank and honest exchange, McCall reflected upon his time in the game, the ups and downs, his demons, and how he turned himself around from a serious betting problem.

The United manager admitted his poor self-discipline led to him leaving Rangers after initially showing great promise.

For most of the audience, McCall’s comments on his time and future at Ayr United held most interest. McCall expressed the gratitude, and debt he owes to Chairman Lachlan Cameron for giving him the opportunity to get back into football management in a club he described as ‘a perfect fit” and this helped to reignite his ambition which he hopes to fulfil.

Asked whether after the success at United he would be tempted to move elsewhere, McCall revealed he had been approached by three teams, two offering him jobs and one which asked him for talks but he had turned them down and had not applied for any jobs.

The United manager described the difficulties involved in taking the club from its lowly position to where it is now in the Championship.

While praising the board of directors and the club’s owner, he highlighted the need for an injection of funding to allow his ambition to be achieved and for the club to reach its true potential. McCall praised the Ayr United Football Academy and announced the re-signing of most of last season’s Reserve League Cup and League Runners-up squad.

He also said AUFA can provide a path to the Ayr team. Faced with losing up to five key players, McCall said others could be found but the greatest difficulty would be replacing legend Lawrence Shankland.

McCall revealed that he had approached Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd as he thought that as he was local and had stature. However, the first thing Boyd said was: “Colly, are you trying to get us killed!” McCall quipped “I wouldn’t rule it out”.