Stephen Dobbie could not resist chance to move into coaching with AFC Fylde
The chance to take the first steps in his coaching career was a major factor behind Stephen Dobbie’s decision to sign for AFC Fylde.
The 38-year-old has joined the National League North side on a one-year deal after leaving Scottish outfit Queen of the South where he has spent the past five seasons.
The forward, whose CV includes four loan stints at Blackpool and one at Fleetwood Town, will combine his playing role at Mill Farm with that of academy coach.
Dobbie, who still lives in Lytham, had plenty of other offers on the table – mainly from clubs north of the border – but the opportunity to coach with Fylde was too good to turn down.
“The chance to coach as well as play was massive, so that ticked all the boxes as well as allowing me to remain at home,” Dobbie told The Gazette.
“First and foremost I’ll be a player but I’ll be taking the Under-18s team.
“I’ll be getting them ready for their games, which are played on Sundays.
“Coaching is something I’ve always wanted to do because I want to give back the experience I’ve had all through my career to help the kids progress.
“Firstly, we want to get the kids in the mix and training with the first team, then we’ll see how they go from there.
“Longer term for myself, I’m not sure what the plan is.
“I’m still happy to play just now. I’ve obviously got ambitions in terms of where I want to go in the coaching game.
“I’ve been very lucky that I’ve got this start, so I’ll just go in, do my best and see where it takes me.”
Fylde’s meteoric rise through the non-league pyramid has stalled over the last two seasons, having been relegated back to non-league’s second tier in 2019/20 before the following campaign was abandoned because of Covid.
Dobbie played in the Premier League for Swansea City and Crystal Palace, and now his number one priority is helping Fylde to return to the National League.
And he’s excited to help the Coasters get back on track. “Living in the area you obviously keen an eye on the teams like Fleetwood, Fylde and Blackpool because they’re your local teams and you see them in the local paper,” he said.
“Fylde have done fantastic as a club. They were unlucky a couple of years ago in the National League play-offs (losing out to Salford City in the final) and obviously Covid has hit, which a lot of clubs have suffered from.
“It’s just a case of starting this season well, getting the club back into the National League and see where they go from there.
“You only have to look at the facilities to see the club is lower than it should be, so hopefully we can play some nice football and win promotion.”