Assistant Head Coach Richard O’Kelly speaks to Bees Player after signing contract extension
Richard O’Kelly believes that the working environment at Brentford will bring the best out of everyone connected with the club in the years ahead. The Bees' Assistant Head Coach was speaking after yesterday signing a one-year extension to his contract, alongside Head Coach Dean Smith, which will take the pair through to the summer of 2019. Having spent 15 months in West London already, Richard feels the foundations are being put in place to build towards the club’s long-term visions.
“I am really pleased to sign,” said Richard, speaking to Bees Player. “When we came here the Football Club had a vision and the vision wasn’t something that was an overnight thing: it needed stability and needed things being put in place. We are in the process of doing that. What really pleased me about Brentford was the consistency of the whole staff here. There is a stability in the playing group, a stability in the methods that we use, and a stability in the staff. Stability creates trust and it creates a healthy environment. With the group of people that we have here complacency won’t be an issue as everyone questions things and pushes each other. You need an environment that encourages people to have a go at something. If it doesn’t come off then you can learn from it but if it does come off then the rewards can be great.”
The experienced coach has been involved in professional football for five decades, spanning a playing career with Walsall, Port Vale, and Grimsby Town, and a coaching career which has taken in West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, AFC Bournemouth, Walsall, and a brief spell as manager of Hereford United among others. Despite his years in the game, Richard said that seeing progress, like he is at Jersey Road, is what drives him on.
“Every day I go home and I say that it was an interesting day,” said Richard. “Having been in football as long as I have it is a great thing to be stimulated. What drives me is the days, weeks, and months where you get things right and you can see progress. You can walk away from the place, do a debrief, and think where would we have been six months ago. Some of the things that are going on now wouldn’t have happened when we first came in here. Now it is a really positive environment with how the group reacts day to day and how they react to setbacks.”
Aside from a brief spell with AFC Bournemouth in 2013, Richard and current Bees Head Coach Dean Smith has spent the last four-and-a-half-years working together, firstly at Walsall and now in TW8. Richard believes that the pair’s trust and openness have served them well so far, qualities he sees in the latest addition to The Bees coaching staff, Thomas Frank.
“I argue with him,” joked Richard, when asked about the success of his partnership with Dean. “We have got similar values: you need to have trust, you need to be honest, and you need to work hard. The best combination is always to have a bit of ying and yang. He will say something and I might say I am not sure so we will discuss it and ultimately he will come to the right answer as it is his decision. He talks about things and is very open to ideas like Thomas Frank is. He has come into the environment and has been really good. He fits in perfectly and has really added something to the coaching group since coming in.”