Galway United today presented their new manager Jeff Kenna to the media at an early press conference in The Twelve Hotel, Barna. Club chairman John Fallon and Chief Executive Nick Leeson were also present at the unveiling.
Fallon began proceedings by outlining the process involved in choosing the club’s third manager in four seasons. “Since this process began a couple of weeks ago, the club received a large number of applicants and a large number of enquiries, which I think showed two things. One, the esteem in which the club is held and I think also the esteem in which the league is held.
“From the outset, one outstanding candidate emerged throughout this, and I’m glad that Jeff has taken up the task of managing Galway United. I want to thank the Board of Directors of the club for the level of support they’ve shown over the last few weeks. I also want to thank the supporters because, let’s face it, they have been rather difficult times and equally so, I want to thank the players for their application during that”.
After thanking Gareth Gorman, Mark Cobey, and Stephen Lally for their help since Tony Cousins’ departure, Fallon then went on to announce that caretaker boss Billy Clery would now become assistant manager to Kenna, a move designed to improve continuity at the club and acknowledge that one day the Galway native may step into the manager’s job on a permanent basis.
Fallon continued by describing Kenna as “a proven leader of men” following his captaincy at various clubs across the water, most notably Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City. The holder of a UEFA A licence, Kenna has been given a contract until the end of the 2010 season, with both manager and board agreeing that this will reviewed come the end of the current campaign.
An amazing clause in the Dubliner’s contract was then revealed by Fallon. “As a measure of Jeff’s commitment to this club, 40% of his salary this year is dependant on Galway United remaining in the Premier Division.
“We have here a man who is prepared to back himself and, I think, at this moment in time, that is what Galway United needs“.
Fallon then revealed that the Galway board have endeavoured to make funds available to strengthen the squad “at the earliest opportunity”. Apart from financial support, Fallon stated that Galway people - fans, players, directors, and indeed anyone with an interest in football in Galway - would now have to row in behind their new appointee if they wanted to see United stay in the Premier Division.
Jeff Kenna was then invited to make his opening statement as Galway United boss. “Just from my own personal point of view, as the chairman said, I’ve been trying to get into the coaching/management side of things for the last, certainly the last season. I have applied for a couple of jobs in Ireland beforehand, to no avail, and I’m just absolutely delighted and thrilled to be given this opportunity to work with the board and Galway United”.
While the club languishes at the bottom of the eircom Premier Division, Chief Executive Nick Leeson was excited by the prospect of having Kenna in the hotseat, describing today as a “change of direction” for the club, and how the “season starts now”. Supporters may be thinking that this re-start may have come slightly late for their liking, but with less than a quarter of the season gone and only four points from safety, Jeff Kenna has just about enough time to steady the ship and steer the Corribsiders to safety.
Jeff Kenna Bio
Jeffrey Jude Kenna was born in Dublin in August 27, 1970. He moved to Southampton in 1989 where he played 114 games between 1989 and 1995 before he was bought by Blackburn Rovers for £1.5 million, and subsequently picked up a Premiership winners medal the same season.
He became a regular with the Lancashire club and played 157 times before leaving for Birmingham City in 2002 after loan spells with Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic.
In 2004, he became a Derby County player, and was promoted to club captain in 2005. Before joining Galway United as manager in April 21st 2008, he was playing for Conference side, Kidderminister Harriers.
Jeff has played for the Republic of Ireland 27 times.