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Dick Campbell vows ‘there’s more to come’ from Arbroath as boss reveals biggest regret of his career came at Rugby Park

Dick Campbell and his Arbroath player show their appreciation to their fans after the Kilmarnock game.
Dick Campbell and his Arbroath player show their appreciation to their fans after the Kilmarnock game.

Legendary football boss Dick Campbell has revealed the biggest regret of his 33-year career as he looks to repeat Arbroath’s odds-defying season.

The Fife-born gaffer has seen relegations, sackings and the odd confrontation with match officials over the years, but he admits the one thing that eats away at him came most recently.

In April, The Lichties were just minutes away from setting up a grandstand finish to the Championship title race.

A late Kilmarnock comeback shattered the Arbroath dream as the Ayrshire side won the league, putting an end to what would have been the most remarkable of Lichties fairytales.

Biggest regret

That, says the Gayfield boss, is the biggest regret he has as a manager.

“I should have went five at the back against Kilmarnock, instead of five from the front,” he revealed.

“I looked at my watch and there were 14 minutes to go and they needed to score two goals.

“I thought they were going to put their wingers on, which they did do, but it didn’t work. I should get my arse kicked for that.

“Any regrets? Aye. We didn’t win the league.”

Proud of work off the field

While a Championship winners’ medal would have taken pride of place in Campbell’s trophy cabinet alongside his numerous manager of the month awards, he takes great satisfaction in helping transform the football club off the pitch.

“At the end of the day, we’ve haven’t done or won anything, barring people’s respect,” he explained.

“The other side of it is the development of this football club.

Arbroath boss Dick Campbell.
Arbroath boss Dick Campbell at full-time at Rugby Park.

“To sit down and see what we’ve done since we came in.

“Three or four hundred was the crowd back then. We were up at 2,000 last season, with over 1,000 season tickets.

“Somebody told me that there used to be five buses that left the Arbroath area for Rangers and Celtic supporters and there are only two now.

“They’ve never seen so many girls and boys running about with an Arbroath kit on. It’s just a fabulous story.”

No plans to retire anytime soon

Despite being the oldest manager in the SPFL, at 68 Campbell has no plans to retire anytime soon.

He still juggles the businesses he manages away from football with his twin brother Ian, with being a grandad and overseeing the best part-time team in Scottish football.

Incredibly, Campbell seems to take it all in his stride, although he admits there is one area that has suffered.

“I’m not getting any younger,” he explained.

Arbroath boss Dick Campbell on the touchline during the Arbroath v Raith Rovers clash.
Arbroath boss Dick Campbell alongside twin brother Ian on the touchline.

“We have three businesses. It takes up a lot of our time but don’t think for a minute being manager of Arbroath is a part-time job – that never stops.

“You don’t get a minute as a football manager. When you’re as successful as we are it’s even busier.

“But I know that, I’ve been doing this 33 years. I know how busy it is.

“I don’t switch off at all, I’m 24 hours football and work.

“My golf has suffered badly just because I’ve been so busy but we just try to manage my day better.

“I see Arbroath as my hobby, albeit it wasn’t a hobby at the end.

“I’ve no intentions of even thinking about retiring. My football results will decide that.

“I’ve had a great time but there’s more to come.

“I’ve got that bit about me now thinking ‘I wonder if I could repeat what I did last year’.”

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