Meet The 83-Year Old Who Has Been A Football Manager Since 1953

Sir Alex Ferguson has long been viewed as the master of longevity in football after 26 glittering years in charge of Manchester United but his record pales in comparison to fellow Scot Larry Barilli from Greenock.

The 83-year old, who is a father-of-six and a great-grandfather-of-nine, has been a player and manager since he was 18 when he set up his first team, Barnhill Rovers - named after the street he grew up on - in 1953.

He started managing a football team in the year the Queen was coronated and kept playing until his 40s, winning 23 cup finals and 11 league titles.

Aged 83, Larry no longer attends training sessions in midweek but you can always find him on the touchline every Sunday, barking out instructions to his Chaplins FC team during games in the Greenock District Welfare League.

Image: The Scotsman
Image: The Scotsman

Following the death of his wife, the players have become like a second family to Larry, who still works part-time as a taxi driver two days a week and also finds time to wash the kits every week after a game.

Reflecting on his career in an interview with The Scotsman in February, Mr Barilli said: "I was over 40 when I stopped playing. When you are getting a lot of players coming through, it is hard to pick yourself to play.

"It is not nice to pick yourself in front of others.

"My career has been longer than Fergie's. In 65 years I've missed maybe half a dozen games. But there's an awful lot of pushing and shoving and I don't think it's a good thing."

According to the BBC, it's thought only one man in Scottish football history has been in management for a longer period of time and Larry, who is said to have managed about 2000 games, is expected to break that record when 2019 is done and dusted.

The other record he will have his sights on, if all goes well, is to become the oldest active football coach - which is currently held by Ivor Powell - who went in the Guinness Book of World Record when he was 93 after 58 years in the job.

Only last month, 73-year old Israeli goalkeeper Itzhak Hayk, went into the record books for being the oldest active player to play an official football match.

An official Guinness World Record adjudicator was in attendance at Maccabi Ironi to give Hayk his plaque.

Over on these shores, 79-year old Colin Lee is Britain's oldest goalkeeper and wants to keep playing until his 80s.

Image: SWNS
Image: SWNS

As well as serving as secretary for a total of eight teams in his local area, he plays most Saturdays with his 50 year-old son Colin Jr and 21-year old grandson Tom.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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