Forres Mechanics manager Charlie Rowley celebrates decade in charge at Mosset Park
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FORRES Mechanics manager Charlie Rowley celebrated ten years in charge of the club recently – a landmark he never dreamed of reaching.
Rowley, the league’s longest serving manager, was assistant for 18 months before becoming manager in the summer of 2010.
The club won the North of Scotland Cup in Rowley’s first season at the helm, and, against all odds, Mechanics’ second ever Highland League title the season after.
“I thought management was pretty easy then!” he joked.
“After two years we had won two trophies and everything was going well, but I soon found out it’s not as easy as winning all the time.
“When I took it over it was just my intention to give it a go. I could never have imagined still being manager after ten years.
“It’s a stressful and difficult job but the enjoyment factor keeps me going, as well as the fact the board, assistant manager, coaches and players have kept buying into it.”
Rowley didn’t require much thinking time when asked for the high point of his ten-year stint.
He said: “The league title is the high point – no question. There have been lots of highs and lows but that championship winning side stands out.
“The Rangers draw (in Scottish Cup round two the next season) was just rewards for winning the title. Financially, winning title doesn’t set you up but the lucrativeness and the exposure from that performance gave us a boost.
“The loyalty of the players has been a bigger achievement than silverware– keeping so many players long term is a testament to the club itself.”
Unfortunately for Rowley, attracting players is far more difficult than keeping the ones already at the club.
He added: “In general, the biggest disappointment has been trying to entice players to the club.
“Even when we won the league we tried to sign a few players to make us stronger and the vast majority turned us down.
“That showed what we were up against financially.
“But once they come through the vast majority and there for a good spell.”
While Rowley admits Mechanics has been all he and his wife have known since meeting, he says it’s very unlikely he will be manager for another decade.
“There were a couple of occasions after big defeats where I thought we need to change things up,” he said. “But the Doc (ex chairman) changed my mind.
“I think it’s highly unlikely I’ll manage another ten years – there will be a stage, whether in the near future or further down the line, wherefreshness will come into it.
“I’ll be the first to recognise when and if a new manager is required. There are lots of folk waiting in the wings.”
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