Former Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady has signed a 2-year deal with Ayr United FC, where he will take up two roles at Somerset Park. McGeady, who previously played for Celtic, Spartak Moscow, and Everton, is currently pursuing a masters degree in Sports Directorship. During his studies, he will simultaneously work in a dual capacity at the club.
Having earned 93 caps for the Republic of Ireland, McGeady joins Ayr United as a free agent following his departure from Hibernian. Besides being a player, he will also assume the role of Technical Manager at the club.
In an interview with Ayrshire Post, the 37-year-old expressed his enthusiasm for the new challenge with Ayr United. He found the project intriguing due to its unique nature, allowing him to have an impact both on and off the pitch. McGeady sees this opportunity as a chance to be involved in various aspects of the club, particularly the administrative side, which is an area of great interest to him.
"This excites me as a project with a defined role - it's something really unique. It allows me to try and influence things off the pitch as well as on it. For the next stage of my career, it's something that gives me a chance to be involved in a lot of aspects," said McGeady.
As he progresses in his career, McGeady acknowledges the need to plan for the future beyond his playing days. His experience as a footballer has provided limited exposure to the inner workings of football clubs. With this move, he can combine his passion for the game with a deeper understanding of club operations, thanks to his ongoing studies in Sports Directorship.
✍ The Club are delighted to announce the signing of Aiden McGeady on a 2-year-deal!
A free agent following his departure from Hibernian, McGeady now makes the switch to Somerset Park and also takes up the role of Technical Manager.#WeAreUnited pic.twitter.com/dviUtoYHaK
— Ayr United (@AyrUnitedFC) July 21, 2023
"I'm doing my masters degree in Sports Directorship and am currently doing my dissertation, which for someone who left school at 16 is quite difficult! It gives you an insight into how football clubs run - and that's what really interests me.
"As a footballer you don't get to see that side. You just turn up, train and play and go home. As you get older you start to think what's next. I could retire and do nothing at all but I still have that passion for football. I still love playing, competing and training. That's what is so great about this move - I can combine the best of both worlds.
Ayr's manager, Lee Bullen, shared his thoughts on McGeady's arrival, highlighting the value of his experience and quality for the team. Bullen had previously worked with McGeady and believes that the addition of such an accomplished player will positively impact the squad and the club's ambition to reach the Scottish Premiership in the 2023/2024 season.
"First and foremost it’s great for us to bring a player of Aiden’s experience and quality to Ayr United," said Bullen. "We wanted to add experience to our group and having worked with Aiden previously I’ve no doubt he will bring real quality to our team and be a very positive addition to our changing room.
Regarding McGeady's dual role as a player and Technical Manager, Bullen explained that it was an innovative appointment by the club. The role has been designed to provide McGeady with practical experience in areas he is considering for his potential career beyond playing. In addition to his coaching qualifications, McGeady is currently completing a Sporting Director undergraduate degree with UFCB.
"In addition to playing, Aiden is looking at the transition into the next stage of his career and we are delighted to have him come on board as Technical Manager," said the former Scottish international. "This is an innovative appointment by the club and the role has been formed to help Aiden gain experience in areas he sees as a potential career when he eventually stops playing. In addition to his coaching qualifications.
"Aiden is currently completing a Sporting Director undergraduate degree with UFCB and his key focus as Technical Manager will be to work with the football staff and take the lead on the development of the talented young players we have at the club through a variety of additional on-field sessions, analysis sessions, gym sessions and looking into their loan opportunities to ensure they are as prepared as possible to transition into the First Team. Aiden will also join our fortnightly football meetings and we are all looking forward to his input both on and off the field," concluded the statement on Ayr's website/