THEY don’t discuss Dulux colour charts or the workings of a Rotavator when you’re sitting your Uefa A licence, nevertheless Gordon Young has developed an intimate knowledge of them. This week the former Dundee United assistant manager has been painting the house and putting the finishing touches to his garden.

The life of an unemployed football coach is pretty much as you would expect: one of finally getting around to all those jobs the missus has been asking you to do for months while simultaneously waiting for the phone to ring.

The 52-year-old has been out of work for 43 days since he departed Dundee United seven months into a three-year contract as Mixu Paatelainen’s assistant. It is the first time he has been jobless since he left Dalziel High School in 1980.

In those 36-odd years of full-time employment, initially in sales for a packaging company and then in a variety of coaching and academy roles for Motherwell Football Club, Young looked on as friends and colleagues lost their jobs at the Ravenscraig Dalziel steelworks. He was part-time at Motherwell when the club went through administration in 2002 and says his own predicament does not come close.

“Not at all,” says Young. “I was a part-time coach at Motherwell but I felt the pain of colleagues. It was very difficult because the future looked bleak but at the same time I’ve had mates who worked in the steelworks and they closed down. These guys were in there with 35 years’ service, just short of pension age and suddenly they’re thinking ‘what am I going to do?’

“This is the first time that a decision has been taken out of my control. You have to get over the unjust part of it. You think ‘I have not been treated fairly here’ and then your life experience takes over. You think ‘I’ve got to turn this into a positive, I’ve got to learn from it and I’ve got to move on’.

“I’ve always tried to map my career out in terms of progress and when someone makes a decision you are not in control of, you get a jolt. You feel a bit guilty because you have time on your hands. The garden looks better, I’m in the middle of redecorating the hall, I’ve not played as much golf but you are constantly evaluating the situation and you are constantly in touch with people. Sometimes it takes something like this to give you a fresh approach and a different dimension.”

Young spoke to Kilmarnock about becoming Lee Clark’s assistant at Rugby Park but turned them down because he harbours hopes of re-uniting with Paatelainen with whom he believes he has unfinished business.

“I still have a great relationship with Mixu and I’m confident that he won’t be out of the game for long. One of the first things we did at the end of the season at Dundee United was have a debrief on what we did wrong, what we could improve on come the next time [we are in a job together]. It was quite constructive because we were very self-analytical and I think that’s what you have got to be.”

Young walked into a dysfunctional mess at Tannadice and it is tempting to suggest that one of the best youth coaches in Scotland deserved more time in the role despite the club’s relegation. The man who oversaw a Fir Park youth system that produced such as Jamie Murphy, Mark Reynolds and Lee Erwin and perhaps more impressively, the entire Under-20 team who won this year’s Scottish Cup, took charge for the final three games of the campaign winning two and drawing one after introducing a slew of youngsters. The club was docked three points for one of those victories because Ali Coote, one of the young players, was not registered properly by the club.

“When you make a decision to go to a club like Dundee United for three years and you don’t get the opportunity to implement your strategies and development plans you feel a bit aggrieved,” adds Young. “We turn things over too quickly [in Scottish football]. I read Alex Ferguson’s book Leading on holiday and it was so apt about chairmen and clubs wanting a quick fix and not understanding that it takes time. That’s what Mixu and I tried to do at Dundee United. We tried to change things and we didn’t have enough time to put our values in place, to put our ideas in.”

He may be performing passable Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen makeovers on his home, but Young is open to moving away from Scotland. His desire for self-improvement led him to accept a job offer from Sheffield United to become the English club’s international academy manager in 2013. He did so with a heavy heart, severing a 13-year association with Fir Park in the process, but opening up new horizons at the same time.

“I’m probably an anomaly in terms of my skillset because I have done so many roles within the clubs I’ve been at. I’ve been academy director, first-team coach, I’ve been assistant manager, I’ve been under-20s manager. Up until a month ago, everything I felt I was doing was progressive. But, at the same time, I’m not too precious. My obligation is to put a loaf on the table and whatever the means that’s what I’ll do.

“When I was at Sheffield United, my remit was international development. We had a club in Calcutta. I flew into the city one day and it was under four feet of water. There were people literally swimming with their belongings on their back. Hundreds of thousands living homeless beside a Porsche garage. That’s a real situation. I was brought up with my parents saying there are always people worse than off than yourself. I’ll survive.”