It has been a very long week with negotiations running thick and thin before the new season. It has been an unforgettable season for the club owner and former manager Mr Albert Parody but the future inevitable. It is very hard to see a manager last so long as a manager, regardless if you control your future but when you have to split yourself into two places as manager and club owner, it is impossible to keep up the pace. The club was fortunate to catch up with Mr Allen Bula as he prepares for the upcoming season.
Becoming one of the most qualified and experienced coaches in Gibraltar, what is your philosophy of coaching?
To combine the best of Latin football with the best of English style football. Latin football, to be comfortable with the ball in feet, and quick successive passing English football, direct play together with the physical side.
You held a successful period as the Gibraltar National Team Coach (how could we forget the narrow 4-0 defeat to World Champions Germany) but how does it differ to managing a club?
How can I forget that game against the World Champions Germany? I will always cherish that moment. It was the David v Goliath of all times, and what a performance the Gibraltar players gave. I Have always said that at this level Gibraltar had to learn first how to defend before they could learn how to attack, plus how to play so they could reserve energy to last the whole match. In that game, Gibraltar reached their peak of how to defend, and finish with a high fitness level. The next step was to learn how to attack. Unfortunately, that was my last game in charge. Never been more proud of the players, the Technical team and The Fans.
It can be very different in the way you have to manage the team. Both have their pros & cons. With National teams, you only get players 3 or 4 days before a match, and room for errors in preparation is zero. But you also get to pick the best players available. Club team players belong to you and week in week out you get to prepare them for what you want. The quality of players depends on the budget you have.
Having received various offers in Europe, why did you choose Lynx FC?
In theory, when a club appoints a new manager, its because he ticks all the boxes, same applies to a manager, the club must tick all the boxes if he is to accept. If a manager just accepts a job cause of the money, or the club takes on a manager because of who he is, not what he can do, then likely hood that failure will occur. None of the other European clubs ticked all the boxes for me. Lynx FC did, and more so when I was told there short and long term plan. Lynx FC has done significant strides in their ten years of existence, and owner and board have worked very hard, and still, do to achieve their goal.
What do you expect to achieve in your first season at the club?
It’s promising to be a very tough year for all teams in the Premiership. Still, early days to see what our goal will be. Lynx Fc has finished 6th this season so in first instance anything above that spot in the league. Once we have signed the squad, I will be in a better position to tell you our expectations.
What challenges are you looking for in your managerial position?
I have worked many years at club level, so I am fully aware of challenges that lay ahead. Will use all my knowledge and experience, together with all the help from my tech team and board to deal with all challenges. I have always been a firm believer that achievements in life are from teamwork, not the individual.
You have established a great relationship with Albert having held the position of Sporting Director for the club which ended prematurely to complete your UEFA Pro Licence. How is the relationship with the Club owner
I know Albert many years now and is a great professional. Albert will praise when you do things right, but will also not hesitate to show his feelings when you do things wrong. That’s exactly what I expect from a club owner, friendship aside when it comes to club issues. I also know that Albert will give me all the tools I need to make a success of the team.
Finally, If you had to give advice to anyone wishing to take on a coaching career, what is critical in any managerial role in any football club?
Do all your coaching badges, but most of all don’t just look at them as a qualification, learn from the courses. Be open minded and realise that football is a development process that never ends, so learn every day what you can, not only from qualified coaches but also from any coach you know. Learning how to communicate is a key factor, not only with players and others coaches but also at a higher level, i.e., board members, owners, etc. This is one area most of us managers have problem with, which is only learnt either the hard way, or if you do the Uefa Pro Licence in time. Most importantly create a healthy network of people in the football industry if you wish to progress up the ladder.
I have reached the maximum coaching qualification, which is the Uefa Pro Licence, but I never stop learning. Each year I do my hours of Continuous Professional Development to keep my Licence, plus I join as many courses as possible.