SCOTTISH former footballer Simon Ferry has opened up about struggling in his early career and needing a wake-up call to be successful.
Ferry’s new role was announced this week as manager of the Lowland League side Broomhill FC in partnership with Open Goal, whose podcast he hosts.
But the former Dundee player has revealed that a difficult start to his football journey and juggling a nightshift job with Royal Mail gave him the boost he needed.
Ferry, 34, said: “Maybe five years ago I was the joker, but being released by Dundee completely changed my mindset.
“At Dundee I had a car school with Kevin McBride, David Clarkson, Gary Irvine and the goalie, Kyle Letheren.
“My sole aim for that year was to make them laugh in the motor on the way up, in training, then in the car on the way back.
“Paul Hartley said I’d p***ed about all year and he was going to offer me a pay-up to go. I got no other offers.
“I had to go part-time with Peterhead which meant having to deliver kitchens and work nightshift at the Royal Mail.”
Ferry admitted that this point in his life gave him a real wake-up call and a certain Celtic star pushed him to change, the Scottish Sun reports.
He said: “One night I was walking from Springburn to Stepps at 6am and I thought, ‘I can’t be this guy anymore’. Something had to change.
“It was no more of the guy who was interested in making people laugh and all about being the guy who’s been successful.
“At Swindon, Paolo di Canio told me I had a weak mindset, that I was easily led and had to change it.
“It wasn’t until something drastic happened, where I had a big mortgage, a wife and two children, was part-time and working for minimum wage, that I realized.
“When I met the guys from Open Goal I was determined, no matter what happened, I was going to make a success through being well prepared, through not being the guy who just makes people laugh.
“You see that on the podcast, but if you were to speak to any player coached under me, I’m very serious when it comes to football.
“I’ve completely changed my mindset in the last five years where I’m in things to be successful, not to make people laugh.
“You don’t get to be as successful as we are in the podcast and sell out big shows at the Hydro without being really well prepared.
“We go on well prepared and put high demands on guys. It’s no different when it comes to a football team.
“I never thought this would get to where it has, but when I think of the hard work I’ve put in and the standards I’ve demanded from others, the surprise isn’t that big.”
Ferry feels that he can build upon the success of his podcast and channel that into managing Broomhill.
He said: “When you do that in life you get good things and I’ll take that into management.
“People might think the standard in the Lowland League isn’t great, but I’ve done my research into every team.”
As well as Di Canio, Ferry will look to two other former bosses for inspiration — his ex-Celtic youth manager Tommy Burns and Peterhead gaffer Jim McInally.
He said: “I’m lucky, I’ve got a great memory. I remember every session Tommy put on.
“In terms of how I want my team to play on the ball, very much it’s from Tommy.
“Dominate the ball while trying to attack, go forward, be creative, make mistakes, get on the ball again.
“Off the ball and in terms of your mentality? It would be Di Canio.
“The number one thing in my team is people take on instructions quickly and do it to the best of their ability.
“You also look after yourself, whether you’re in the Lowland League or the Premier League.
“You’re being paid to play, so you need to turn up in the right nick.
“Then it would be Jim McInally on man-management, which up until two years ago I’d probably have been terrible at.
“That’s where Di Canio probably fell short too. He was demanding in the wrong way.
“Tommy demanded in the right way, but I was a kid, so I didn’t really take that on as much.
“But Jim has given me a real insight into how you treat first-team players.
“If I get the mix between Jim’s man-management and Di Canio’s standards, I’ll be on to a good thing.”
Ferry added that while the deal has led to Open Goal planning a variety of club content including a documentary, he is fixed on managing his team.
He said: “I’m not interested in the subscription and content side. I’ve told the guys to film what they want.
“Football management, coaching, playing is everything to me. The entertainment side is second.
“Of course I enjoy doing it, but what keeps me up at night is coaching.
“How can I win a game and make players better? That’s where my passion lies.
“I’ll continue the podcast and for those two hours I’ll focus on that.
“Every other hour of the day will be focused on getting a winning team in the league. I’m under no illusions it’s a tough league.
“We’re 15th, so I know it’s a big job, but if I get the right players to match that, we can compete at the top end of the league.”