Home   Sport   Article

From Brunei to Dingwall: Meet Ross County’s new head of performance Jason Moriarty

By Andrew Henderson

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

It would be fair to say that Jason Moriarty has taken the road less travelled to get to Ross County.

Moriarty recently took over from Alun Andrews as the club's head of performance. Starting out at Wimbledon, where he spent 12 years, the 38-year-old had previously spent time in England's lower leagues with Reading and Crawley Town.

While English football to Scottish football is not an uncommon career trajectory, Moriarty's time with Brunei gives him a unique CV on his road to Dingwall.

Working with Adrian Pennock – who was Tony Pulis' assistant at Stoke City and former manager himself at Gillingham, Barrow and Forest Green Rovers – Moriarty took the plunge with his family to move to south east Asia.

Picture - Ken Macpherson. See story. Ross County’s Jason Moriarty, Head of Performance.
Picture - Ken Macpherson. See story. Ross County’s Jason Moriarty, Head of Performance.

The club is owned by and named after the Crown Prince of Brunei, next in line to be the Sultan, so the pressure was on to deliver success.

In a completely unfamiliar environment though, Moriarty fell in love with the football club.

“Going out there was the best decision have I ever made in my life," he explained.

"I have not got one bad word to say about the place. When they told us our contracts were not being renewed, it burnt me so much.

“The Crown Prince of Brunei used to come to every training session. You would walk to the royal box, and him and his entourage would be sat with chandeliers, with a window overlooking the training pitch.

“Going to his palace for his birthday party, and meeting the Sultan of Brunei, they were just really nice, down to earth people. They were obviously cut throat, because they wanted results and they wanted results now, but as people they were fantastic and I got on really well with them.

"The gaffer was fantastic in the way that he just immersed himself into the South East Asian culture, and because he did that myself and all the foreign players and staff did the same thing.

"Personally, being out in Brunei gave me a different outlook on life.

"My wife and children were with me for the first two years in a strong Muslim country, where religion was number one. Everything went back to that, so my daughters went into a local school and started learning Malay.

"It helped all of our communication skills massively. I had to learn the language of coaching – if I wanted to get an idea across using similes or external factors, I had to get as much information across in as few words as I could so that players understood what was required of them.

"We played in the Singapore league, and Singapore is not only a big Malaysian culture but also very much Chinese and Indian culture as well. We played in the AFC Cup – the equivalent to the Europa League – out in Myanmar, so I was able to immerse myself in Myanmar culture for a few days too. We went to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, all of these places to play.

"Ultimately having a Western Europe football education meant our standards were set so high, and when we went to South East Asia those were beyond the norms. Especially with an English head coach, we were allowed to carry on our processes, which was helpful so that we could drive standards and make sure the bar was set high."

Purely by moving out to Brunei, Moriarty showed his adaptability, but in his time out there he had to adjust too.

Coaching in a predominantly Muslim country meant that, particularly from a sports science perspective, Ramadan was a big factor in his work.

Moriarty, then, is used to tweaking schedules and workloads to suit specific situations, and tempering expectations to certain contexts.

That range of experience will undoubtedly by valued in Dingwall, with the Staggies hoping to benefit from Moriarty's involvement in different cultures and approaches.

While it may be difficult to get more polar opposites than Brunei and Ross County, the head of performance does see plenty of similarities between the Staggies and his first club, Wimbledon.

"Wimbledon is very similar to Ross County in that we have to overachieve," Moriarty explained.

"I've come here, and if we can overachieve every season I'm here, I've done a good job and been part of a staff who have done a good job.

"In the Conference South, Wimbledon were a big fish in a small pond, but as soon as we went into the National League we were a small fish who always had to punch above our weight to progress.

"There are so many similarities between the two clubs, it's scary. What's different about Ross County is that the infrastructure is here. The facilities are fantastic, the gym is fully equipped and the training pitch is literally right here.

"Now that I'm here it has exceeded my expectations. Hopefully we have a platform for myself and the staff to go and kick on with over the next few seasons."

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More