In today’s modern-day world of superlatives, the term ‘legendary’ is an overused adjective but this description can ably describe Craig Laird’s football management prowess, writes Alan Cooper.

It is well documented that Craig Laird could well have excelled at football league management level had he wished to pursue that route.

The popular manager, renowned for his personable nature and man-management skills is widely recognised as both Weston-super-Mare and [the then] Bridgwater Town’s most successful ever manager bringing both clubs a wealth of positive history.

“I have always felt passionately about the game, and I recognise just how fortunate I have been to work amongst the best people and many of the largest clubs in the South West," he said.

"Throughout my football pathway I have been able to use my experiences whilst being a player, coach, a manager and as a father, and as many will understand and appreciate, with having this skills set and (still gaining knowledge) is an advantage if used for both yours and the players benefit."

Laird joined the Seagulls at the start of the 2009/10 season and it is interesting how his appointment materialised as groundsman Bob Flaskett that he got the opportunity.

“It was a privilege to be offered the job” remarked Laird; “It was a daunting prospect but I backed myself to be successful, as I always have done and will continue to do, I have learned so much over the years from the likes of Alan Hurford [at Bridgwater], Kevin Somerfield and Paul Sturrock [at Plymouth Argyle] and from Stuart Gibson.

Spending four phenomenally successful seasons at Weston, the affable Scotsman left the Optima Stadium in 2014.  

Says Laird: “I had a great four seasons at the club and have nothing but fond memories, from Bob [Flaskett] (the groundsman) to those in the tea-hut, behind the bar, and all the volunteers.  I had good support from the chairman [Paul Bliss] and club secretary [Richard Sloane] throughout my time there.

"They were special times and great memories and bonding with the players was hugely important. When I arrived at the club, the expectation from many, was for us to be relegated [as many saw us as out of our depth at National League (South) level].

"The players and all my staff should be hugely proud of their achievements, I am enormously proud of every one of them. In my final season we finished in seventh position (which was the club’s highest ever position at that level)."

After leaving Weston [at the end of the 2013-14 season] not being the type of man wanting to take a break from it all, he joined Southern League Premier Division Weymouth and has since managed Yate, Dorchester Town, Bideford, Barnstaple Town and Oldland Abbotonians.

Away from football, Craig is an assessor/lecturer at Yeovil college and is married to Karen and has two stepdaughters Lily and Rosie. Craig has four sons and a daughter (Scott, Callum, Jamie, Craig Junior, and Paige).

Laird finished by saying: "I have been to some wonderful places, met some wonderful people, made some wonderful friends, and above all, some wonderful memories.”

“A Scotland manager once said to me, ‘Craig, the only guarantee in football is disappointment and the rest is all a bonus.”   Absolutely true words.