Gordon Burns has announced he is to step down as Manager of Troon F.C., having served as a player, Captain, Coach, Assistant Manager & Manager in a remarkable ten years at Portland Park.
Burnsie said, "After much thought and careful consideration I have decided to bring my time at Troon FC to an end.
It has not been an easy decision to make and one I've not taken lightly as I have been at my home town club for 10 years as a player right through to manager and it has been a privilege and honour to do so and anyone who knows me knows how much the club means to me.
I have had a great 10 years at the club and loved being part of the journey the club has been on and the good times far out weigh the bad times and I leave with many happy memories. However, my personal circumstances have changed quite considerably over the last 2-3 years and I can no longer justify giving the time required to be manager as I need to put my son Kai and my own life first.
The club have been very understanding and as much as they wanted me to stay they fully understand my decision. I am absolutely gutted that my last season ended in relegation and no one is hurting more than me but I'd like to make it clear my decision to leave has nothing to do with relegation or results.
I have met a lot of great people over the years and there are too many to mention and thank individually however I'd like to thank my coaching staff past and present, all the players I played with and worked with, all the committee members during my time at the club and all the fans for their support throughout my time at the club. I'd also like to mention Michael O'Neil, who brought me to the club 10 years ago and made me club captain, and John Redmond who brought me into his coaching staff and has always been there for advice.
Finally, and most importantly, I'd like to thank Jim & Jimmy Kirkwood. They gave me the opportunity to manage my hometown club, and for that I'll be forever grateful.
Without them, Troon F.C. might not have been here as they have lifted the club out the gutter to where it is today. The amount of time, effort and money they have invested in the club is the reason we have been so successful over the years and the reason we have such great facilities and I'm sure the club will bounce back from relegation and go from strength to strength and get back to the Premier League where they belong.
I wish Jim and Jimmy, and everyone involved with the club, all the best going forward."
Troon F.C. General Manager Jimmy Kirkwood was effusive in his praise for his former colleague. "I was so lucky when I came in as Coach at Troon to have Burnsie as Captain of the club, and he has gone on to become a trusted colleague, friend and almost like a brother to me. When I was appointed Manager there was only one man I wanted to stand beside me & we made a great team. But some things are just more important than football & Burnsie has made the courageous decision to take a step away from the game he loves to prioritise other things in his life & I salute him for that.'
'Throughout his time at the club he has been exemplary and the perfect example of a club man, so we will be recognising this with a testimonial during this season to acknowledge his years of service to the club. Normally testimonials are reserved for players only, but hopefully this will show to everyone how highly Burnsie is thought of at the club, and I look forward to announcing further details about this later in the summer."
Burnsie began his footballing career with local boys club Troon Thistle before joining Ayr United Boys Club. He was scouted by several senior teams and trained with Motherwell, Dundee United, Hearts and Celtic before deciding to sign 'S' forms with Ayr United under Manager George Burley. He left Marr College at 16 to sign a 2-year YTS contract at Somerset Park with Manager Simon Stainrod, before signing his first professional contract at Ayr United at the age of 18. He began his professional career with his local senior club Ayr United in July 1995 and made an early impact when he made his first team debut at the age of 17 against Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park. He didn't have to wait long for his first start either, which came at Somerset Park against Raith Rovers when he was just 18. In 1997, along with fellow starlets Keith Hogg, Neil Scally, Gareth "Bo" Armstrong and Joe Carruth, he enjoyed a spell on loan at Glenafton Athletic under Alan Rough which prepared him for the rough and tumble of Scottish football.
Next season, in February 1998, he was thrown in at the deep end by manager Gordon Dalziel as a versatile youngster in an Ayrshire derby match against Kilmarnock at Somerset Park, with the home side recording a famous 2-0 victory courtesy of an 83rd minute headed goal from Jim Dick & a beautiful lob from Ian Ferguson over the head of Killie keeper Gordon Marshall.
A period of vast investment in the playing squad at Ayr from millionaire Chairman Bill Barr saw the arrivals of high-calibre players such as Neil Duffy, Pat McGinlay, Eddie Annand, John Hughes, James Grady, Andy Walker, Glynn Hurst and Gary Teale. This left youngsters like Burns sidelined, and in 1999 he was signed by legendary Manager John Lambie for Partick Thistle on loan with a view to a permanent move. He made 6 appearances in an impressive spell, but chances of a permanent move were scuppered when Ayr demanded a transfer fee and he was recalled to Somerset Park. He made his first appearance at Portland Park when he enjoyed a brief spell at his hometown club under Manager John Redmond during his rehabilitation from injury in 2000.
After six and a half years with the club, he was released in December 2001 seeking regular first-team football. After successful spells with Queen of the South & Peterhead, Burns joined the Kilwinning Rangers side in July 2003, becoming a key member of the side that went on to win the West of Scotland Super League Premier Division in season 2003-04. The departure of the Management team led by Mark Shanks sparked a remarkable change of fortunes which saw the Abbey Park side relegated the following season to the West of Scotland Super League First Division under new manager Paul Wright. Burns rejected the offer of a new contract in order to concentrate on a new career, and left Abbey park in the summer of 2005.
After 2 years out of the game due to work demands, Burns signed for his home-town team Troon in June 2007. Signed by Manager Michael O'Neill, it wasn't long before Burnsie was named Club Captain as he enjoyed some of the best years of his career at Portland Park. A serious back injury forced an early retirement from playing at the age of 31, although returning Manager John Redmond was keen to utilise Burns's knowledge in a coaching capacity.
After serving on the coaching staff under John Redmond following his retirement from playing, Burns formed part of the new management team with Jimmy Kirkwood when Redmond stepped down in March 2011 and the two oversaw a dramatic overhaul of the club and the playing staff with an emphasis on youth development & attractive football. Results were erratic to begin with, but the improvement was remarkable and a title push was well underway in season 2011-12 with the team narrowly missing out on the second promotion spot by one point. The club went one better in 2012-13, securing second place with weeks to spare after a season long title battle with Kilwinning Rangers and promotion back to the Super League was assured. Season 2013-14 saw unprecedented success, as the club were crowned the Super League First Division Champions, Ayrshire Cup winners and were also West of Scotland Cup finalists.
The summer of 2015 saw the dawn of a new era as Jimmy Kirkwood reluctantly stepped aside due to work pressures to give Burns the opportunity to be appointed as Troon F.C. Manager. His first season as Manager was a great success, as he led the club to their highest ever league finish of fourth in the Premier League after a season which saw the club lead the top league for the first time in it's history. Troon also reached the Ardagh Cup Final for the first time in it's history, where they were defeated 4-2 by Hurlford United. But his second season was far more problematic, sadly seeing a season of struggle and an eventual relegation after a frustrating campaign.
Burnsie is a Troon man through-and-through, and will be sorely missed at Portland Park.
An announcement on the new management team will be made within the next week & we are not inviting applications at this time.