Kevin O’Connor has taken on a new role at Brentford Football Club and will now be part of the First Team coaching staff. The long-serving former Club Captain has been Brentford B Head Coach for the past two years and will now be stepping up to work with the First Team. Kevin will be involved with the First Team group from today, Thursday 13 December, and has taken on the role of Assistant First Team Coach working with Head Coach Thomas Frank and Assistant Head Coach Brian Riemer.
Phil Giles, Brentford FC Co-Director of Football, said: "As with every appointment we make, we aim to hold a strong interview process to identify the best possible person for the job. In this case, that process was delayed somewhat by the untimely passing of Rob Rowan. Kev was a strong candidate from the outset and we are pleased that he has agreed to step into the First Team set up, assisting Thomas and developing his own coaching education."
Thomas Frank said: “I am delighted that Kevin will be joining the First Team coaching staff. I have got to know him well over the past two years and he is a very talented coach who has done excellent work with the B Team. His work there is seen every time we have a B Team player in the group for training or matches and I know he will be an asset in the First Team group.
“Kev has a passion for the Club and dedication to Brentford. He is a legend here and that status is well-earned through his performances, leadership and longevity. He will bring extra knowledge of the Club, English football and the division to our coaching staff and I know the players will respond well to him and his methods.
“The process to appoint a new coach has been ongoing since October and we spoke to lots of people that were interested in joining us. Our recent results have not influenced the decision as Kevin has proved to be the best person for the job over the interview process. But at a time when results need to improve, he will give us exactly what we need with his passion for the Club but also his knowledge and coaching ability.”
Kevin has been with Brentford for approaching 25 years as scholar, player, captain and coach. He signed professional terms with Brentford in 1999 after progressing through the Club’s youth system and in the following 16 years he made 501 appearances for The Bees, 420 of them in the Football League, and scored 44 goals, 32 of them in the league. He is fourth on the Club’s all-time appearance list and in 2015 became the first person to be inducted in to the Brentford FC Hall of Fame while still at Griffin Park.
Kevin took a player/coach role in the summer of 2014 after helping The Bees win promotion to the Sky Bet Championship and played his last game later that year. His final touch of the ball in the professional game was the winning penalty in a League Cup shoot-out win against Dagenham and Redbridge. After a spell as Assistant Head Coach for the Club’s Development Squad and the newly created Brentford B, he became B Team Head Coach in late 2016.
Kevin O’Connor said: “It is a great honour to be given this role and I look forward to getting stuck in to work with Thomas, Brian and a very talented group of players. Everyone around here knows that results have not been what we all want but I see every day the talent in the coaching staff and the players and I know things will turn around. I look forward to being back on the Griffin Park touchline on a First Team matchday and I know the fans will do all they can to help us turn things around.
“My time working with the B Team has been great for me. I learned a lot from working with Flemming Pedersen and Lee Carsley among others and I have enjoyed helping some fine young players develop. This is a new challenge for me and one I am relishing.”
Kevin has led Brentford B for the past two years and will now hand over the reins to Lars Friis. Lars has been at the Club for a year as Individual Development Coach and will now take over as Brentford B Head Coach for the rest of the season. Lars has been coaching for more than 20 years and holds a UEFA Pro Licence, the highest qualification available. Before arriving at Brentford last December, he was at Danish Superliga side Aarhus Gymnastikforening, better known as AGF, having previously worked with the Danish FA and FC Midtjylland, where Brentford FC Owner Matthew Benham has held the majority shareholding since July 2014.
Phil Giles added: "One of the challenges with promoting Kev was always going to be that we would need to replace him with a new B Team Head Coach. Fortunately, Lars is a very strong coach with a great track record of developing young players, previously in his role at Brentford as our Individual Development Coach. He will focus solely on the B Team for now, and we will continue to review how we fill both roles in the future. We'd like to thank Lars for moving into the B Team group and wish both Kev and Lars all the best in their new roles."