IRN-BRU SFL Second Division Phenomenal Manager Of The Month: Paul Sheerin (Arbroath)
Arbroath’s fine start to life in the Second Division following their success in picking up the Third Division title last season was recognised when Player/Manager Paul Sheerin was selected as the IRN-BRU SFL Second Division Phenomenal Manager of the Month.
The Red Lichties won their opening fixture against former Third Division foes Albion Rovers and won 6-2 with the Coatbridge men reduced to nine men after both their goalkeepers were sent off. A trip to Stenhousemuir was not as successful as the Warriors won 2-0 however, an end of the month top spot was secured with Gayfield wins over Arbroath and Stirling Albion where seven goals were scored and only two conceded.
Sheerin was delighted as he said: “I picked up just the one Award last season so I have equalled that. We are going pretty well but we have been fortunate to have the three games at home so we are not getting carried away. It has been a decent start scoring goals especially at home.
“I am hoping that we can keep on playing in the manner that we have, in that we can score fairly freely but hopefully, we can get a bit tighter at the back.”
The 37-year-old has learned how to fuse his on-field and his off-field roles after a difficult baptism last season as he explained: “I have learned how to play and manage after a slow start when I was as good as a man down. My Assistant Manager, Stewart Petrie, and Goalkeeping Coach, Mike Cargill, have been great and we have got the balance right. I will do the team talk before the game and then they take over.”
Sheerin has no intentions of being a Manager only, unless a bumper season is seen in Angus as he explained: “I had a chat with Stewart at the start of the season and we agreed that I was still adding value on the pitch. Success for us this season is staying in this division and as long as I am worthy of my place, I will continue. If in the future we were heading to the Play-Offs or a higher level, then I would have to consider whether I should continue.”
Arbroath take on Airdrie United at their Gayfield home tomorrow and Sheerin reckons that despite making their own patch a fortress, teams enjoy coming to the Third Division Champions home ground much more than he did as a player.
He said: “We had a good record here last season and we have started with the three wins this season. I used to detest coming to Gayfield as a player as the away dressing room was very cramped however, the club spent a lot of money in making it far more welcoming.
“In fact, I am a bit disappointed at how good the facilities are now for away teams!” joked Sheerin.
Arbroath have only lost three times in their last 21 home matches and Sheerin was keen to stress that their record is down to the way they play rather than mastering the gale force winds that can blow in from the North Sea.
Sheerin said: “We have been pretty fortunate as the wind was never too severe last season and it is more to do with the manner we play than the wind. We play a really open game and go at teams in a really positive manner and whilst we lose a lot of goals, we score a fair few as well.
“The fans seem to like it as well because when I came here, we were getting crowds of 300 to 400 and now we are seeing double that.”