Bircham swaps Millwall for Chicago to broaden his horizons

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MARC Bircham believes moving to America will help him to one day become a manager.

Bircham caught everyone by surprise when he stepped down as Ian Holloway's assistant after the Lions' win at Nottingham Forest.

The former Millwall midfielder is joining Chicago Fire to work under his ex-Canada manager Frank Yallop.

The 36-year-old had intended to remain on Holloway's coaching staff for "at least two or three years" but the opportunity to move abroad was too good to turn down.

Bircham wants to broaden his horizons having already rejected the chance to become a no.1 at a club in England.

He told the Southwark News: "Ollie knows that my goal is to become a manager one day. That's why I became a coach.

"Everything has fallen into place with Chicago – and if I didn't go now at this stage of my life, I'd probably never do it.

"If Nigel Gibbs hadn't been here to fill my position, leaving would've been a lot, lot harder. I wouldn't have been able to leave Ollie on his own.

"I've had a couple of other job offers before – manager's jobs – and I turned them down because I had a job to do at Millwall.

"The only reason I'm leaving now is because Chicago's first game is in March and the MLS is a summer competition."

Bircham's move state-side has not been in the pipeline for long.

"It came about really quickly – I got the call on the Thursday or Friday before the Reading game," he revealed.

"I spoke to Ollie on the Sunday and helped me make my decision but I didn't want the lads to know I was going because we were focused on Reading and Forest.

"Luckily we got the three points and it became a bit easier to tell the lads in the dressing room. A couple of staff members knew but none of the players had a clue.

"Winning last Saturday was the perfect way to go.

"It was a hard decision to leave QPR but that was nowhere near as hard as this decision because I loved every minute of the job and working with Ollie again.

"I can't speak about how much respect I've got for that man.

"I didn't want to feel like I was letting Ollie or the club down but he knew that I wanted to coach abroad and the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"It's typical Millwall because the club have handled it brilliantly, which made it even harder to leave.

"The chairman and the chief executive were fantastic about it. I loved Millwall beforehand and this has just strengthened that feeling."

A year in the dugout with Holloway has taught Bircham an awful lot.

"I've learned from Ollie to always be enthusiastic and always be honest," he added.

"If you're always honest, your players can never complain. And Ollie is the most honest and enthusiastic man I've ever met in football.

"He gets the players wanting to play for him because he's such a genuine fella.

"Results haven't gone that well this season but that's been due to lots of factors. He's definitely the man for the job."

Alex Aldridge


9 thoughts on “Bircham swaps Millwall for Chicago to broaden his horizons

  • February 5, 2015 at 12:10

    Brown tongue trying to look good now jog on to usa

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  • February 5, 2015 at 12:22

    To be a good manager surely need to learn that in one of the best leagues in the world not bugger off to the states to learn it.

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