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Staff, teammates and players react to Kevin O'Connor's Sir Tom Finney Award

12 April 2017

One club man recognised at Sunday's EFL Awards

Kevin O'Connor's career at Brentford was recognised at Sunday's EFL Awards in London as he was presented with the Sir Tom Finney Award for long-service and dedication in football. The accolade is given to a player who has had an exceptional career in the EFL and epitomises the man after which this award is named. With 501 appearances to his name and a 20 year association to the club Kevin was a more than deserving recipient of this year's prize. After he received his award, club staff took time to share their own memories of Kevin and what he means to the club.

Cliff Crown - Brentford FC Chairman

It was a pleasure and an honour to attend the EFL Awards on Sunday night to see Kevin collect the Sir Tom Finney Award. Kevin is a credit to himself, and the club, and an incredible role model for the players and the people who work in the club. He has always and continues to give his very best and his record speaks for itself.

The award is well deserved because it has been given to someone who epitomises everything that is good in the game. His integrity and commitment to Brentford Football Club is total and I hope that he will be with us for many years to come.

Phil Giles - Co-Director of Football

I first met Kev two years ago and it was immediately evident how well respected he was among the staff and players. He has done a great job with the B Team, both as Head Coach and as assistant to Flemming Pedersen. We are in the early stages of the B team project and the role of Head Coach is vital to its success. He is a positive influence around the training ground and, although he will make his point when he needs to, he is very humble and has no ego. He is true one club man who knows the place inside out, and it’s easy to see why he’s so popular with fans, players and staff alike.

Dean Smith - Head Coach

I am so pleased that Kev got recognized at the recent EFL awards, his professionalism and loyalty are values that are very seldom seen in the modern game these days.

His knowledge and passion for Brentford has been a great source of help for me to tap into to help me understand the different characteristics that the club has. He is a genuine humble, honest one club man, who deserves the recognition.

Mark Devlin - Chief Executive

It was a privilege to be in the audience on Sunday evening when Kevin picked up the Sir Tom Finney Award from EFL. It was a just and fitting reward for a man whom epitomises everything good about football and Brentford Football Club.

I have had the pleasure of working with Kevin for nearly six years and have always found him to be friendly, warm, humble, knowledgeable and extremely helpful when it comes to responding to the many non-football requests made of him. He is a class act and represents himself, his family and the Club so professionally and so positively.

From a pure footballing perspective, my abiding memory of Kevin will be him calmly dispatching the penalty at Swindon in 2013 to level the first leg of the Play-Off. This was just a week after the Doncaster heartbreak. Kevin was cool as the proverbial cucumber and didn’t allow the events of the previous week to interfere with his concentration and technique. It was no surprise to any of us, when the ball hit the back of the net.

Peter Gilham - Player Liason Officer

I've had the pleasure of knowing Kevin since he came through the youth ranks at Griffin Park and I was honoured to be present when he proudly signed his initial professional contract in 1999 in the presence of his parents.

Since that time with all my dealings with him as a player, Club captain and more recently B Team Head Coach he has been the consummate professional in everything he has done. He knows no other way and has the respect of all whether the youngest B squad player or the most experienced of the coaching personnel.

The like of Kevin O'Connor offers the perfect blueprint for any aspiring young footballer who wants a successful and respected future in the game, and thus Brentford Football Club are well served moving forward whilst Kevin continues to be an integral part of its future.

Harlee Dean - Brentford captain

His desire, work rate and professionalism made him a career in football. Sometimes, in my opinion, attitude is worth more than ability and he is a prime example of that. He should be an idol to all the boys that he is coaching out there because he forged a very good career in the game.

Zain Westbrooke - Brentford B captain

If you have got a question then you don't have to worry because Kev knows the answer for it. Kev knows everyone here and everyone respects him because he has been there and done it all at Brentford.

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