Long-serving Brentford captain to work with next generation of playersKevin O’Connor has announced his retirement from professional football to take up a new coaching role at Brentford Football Club.
The 33-year-old stepped in to the coaching ranks last summer and has now made the decision to stop playing.
He will be the Club’s new Development Squad Coach.
Assisting Development Squad Manager Lee Carsley, Kevin will work with Brentford’s Under-21 players.
He will also have a key role at the Training Ground ensuring continuity and helping to integrate new staff as changes to the football management take place with Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles appointed as Co-Directors of Football and a new Head Coach set to arrive this summer.
Rasmus said: “We were very keen to keep Kevin at the Club.
“He has made a good start to his coaching career and has a wealth of experience both of professional football and specifically Brentford FC to pass on.
“Kevin is held in very high regard by everyone, he is the perfect person to inform the new coaching staff about what sort of club Brentford is if they need it.
“But more importantly he can join forces with Lee Carsley to help the next generation of Brentford players develop.
“Kevin has been on the journey that Brentford has taken over the past few years both as a player and a coach.
“He understands the vision we have for the future of the Club and wants to be a part of it.”
Kevin said: “I was very keen to stay at the Club.
“I wanted to stay at Brentford in some capacity.
“The role has been described as quite a wide ranging one and it was very appealing to me.
“I am looking forward to starting and to the new challenge.
“Depending on who the new Head Coach is I may have a role to play there but I am looking forward to working with the Under-21s.”
Earlier this month Kevin became the first person in the Club’s history to be inducted in to the Hall of Fame while still at Brentford.
The one-club man made his 500th appearance in a Brentford shirt a year ago and is fourth on the all-time appearance list.
Kevin signed professional terms with Brentford in 1999 after progressing through the Club’s youth system.
He made his debut in February 2000 against Wycombe Wanderers and in more than 15 years as a professional filled just about every position on the pitch.
Kevin’s years with the club were marked with a testimonial match against Fulham in July 2010, a few months after his 400th appearance.
He became only the fourth man to play 400 Football League games for The Bees when he featured against Bury on the first day of the 2012/13 npower League One season.
He made his 500th appearance in all competitions against Stevenage on the final day of the 2013/14 season and has now brought his career to a close after 16 seasons as a First Team player.
Kevin joined the coaching staff in a Player/Coach capacity last summer and played a key role behind the scenes as Brentford clinched a place in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs.
He made a total of 501 appearances for The Bees, 420 of them in the Football League, and scored 44 goals, 32 of them in the league.
His last action as a professional footballer was to score the winning penalty for The Bees in a Capital One Cup shoot-out against Dagenham and Redbridge earlier this season.
Kevin added: “I realised last summer when I signed a Player/Coach contract that this was the way my career was going to develop.
“I have been doing more coaching as the season has gone on and I knew this would be an option.
“I could have looked for another club and tried to remain as a player or stay here and help to build the future of Brentford.
“There may have been clubs that would have taken me but it is not something I every really looked in to.
“I always wanted to stay at Brentford.
“I don’t think I could ever have played for another team.
“When I got the offer to stay I was happy and my decision was always going to be to stay at Brentford.
“I would love to carry on playing until I am 35/36 but I don’t think that would happen at Brentford.
“I will miss playing but I am very happy with the role I have.”