As manager of Arbroath, Anderson took that club to the Scottish Cup semi-finals in 1947. Ayr United Director R.W. Hutchinson had denied that Anderson had been interviewed for the post although Archie Anderson was seen at Somerset Park on 25th February 1949. He was subsequently appointed at a Board meeting on 15th March 1949. After agreeing to manage Ayr United, Arbroath did not immediately release him and this created a gap in which the club had no manager.
Having finally taken over he he was immediately plunged into a Highland tour in April 1949. Season 1949/50 on the face of it ended in a disappointing 13th place but seeds were already being sown. Ayr’s home defeat by Cowdenbeath on 21st January 1950 was United’s last home defeat until 13th September 1952 when Stenhousemuir won by 4-2. His side were only 7 minutes away from their first ever national final. On 7th October 1950 when, during the Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell, the Ayr side lost 2 goals in those nail biting last 7 minutes to lose the match and the chance of that elusive final spot. The season is always regarded as one of Ayr’s best in post war days.
However, things never last in football and by season 1952/53 things wern’t going so well with the team being unsettled through many player changes, although the season improved with a good run of 8 wins in a row. Free transfers were becoming commonplace and the accounts reported at the time showed that Ayr had spent £1,192 on players and were in dept to the tune of £2,219.
A sensational 11-1 win over Dumbarton created a sense of hope for the future but the season finished with promotion again proving to be ellusive, Ayr finishing 5th. Archie himself expressed the view that 5th was unsatisfactory and he resigned on 15th May 1953 sensationally after a mid week director’s meeting.