“You’re not going to ask me about Doncaster, are you?!”
With 501 appearances to his name, ‘King’ Kevin O’Connor is Brentford royalty. His playing career, including that infamous moment with Marcello Trotta, has filled many pages of this publication. Kevin’s on-pitch story is a path well-trodden.
Sat across from Kevin in his office, we assure him that the Doncaster game isn’t on the agenda - it’s his coaching career that we’re interested in today.
Since hanging up his boots in 2015, Kevin has played a vital role at Jersey Road, first with the Development Squad, then as Head Coach of Brentford B and now as part of the First Team set-up.
Kevin has been at the same club for two decades, but no one could ever accuse him of standing still.
Kevin on the closest he ever came to leaving…
During the season we won League Two, I wasn’t in the team. Andy Scott brought in Marcus Bean, I was on the bench and I could see what was happening. I remember speaking to Scotty after our last pre-season game. I asked him what the plan was and it came up that a loan might be a possibility. In that moment I was like, ‘bloody hell’. My stomach turned a bit. For whatever reason that didn’t happen and I had to bide my time. I played a cup game at Havant and Waterlooville, it was live on the BBC. Before the game I was thinking ‘f*****g hell, if I play here and we get turned over I’ve got no chance!’. We won, I played really well and from there that was it; I stayed in the team and in January Scotty pulled me on the bus on the way back from an away game and said that the Club wanted to offer me a new contract. Things can turn so much in the space of four or five months. It was great fun winning the league that year but it was a very tough start.
The culture at Jersey Road…
I try to look after the new members of staff and make sure they feel welcome. I try to get to know them and find some common ground. Thomas is amazing at that as well. To see the true qualities of a person, they need to be made to feel welcome. They need to feel as though they belong. That adds to the team and the environment.
And how he continues to develop as a coach…
By taking on more responsibilities and pushing myself. For example, we now have culture meetings at Jersey Road that I’ve been asked to lead and I was definitely a bit nervous the first time I had to address 30 or 40 staff. The key is to make sure you’re never comfortable. You have to keep asking questions and learning from the people around you. I’ve improved so much over the last three years, I have no doubts about that. Thomas has fantastic attention for the small details and I take bits from Brian as well. Coaches and managers develop throughout their careers and that comes by experiencing different situations
Also included in Sunday’s issue:
- From the Dugout: Thomas Frank
- The lowdown on Aston Villa
- A Foot in Both Camps: Ollie Watkins
- Peter Gilham’s Great Brentford Goals
- View from the North Stand
- From the Archive
- History Boys with Simon Ratcliffe
- Coach Karleigh
- The Last Word with Ben Burgess
Priced at £4, our sellers around the stadium are now accepting contactless payments. Programmes are also available from The Bees Merchandise Kiosk on Lionel Road South and from The Bees Superstore.
Missed a game at Brentford Community Stadium this season? Fill the gaps in your programme collection here.