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"A good kind of mad" | Brian Kerr on the unique nature of his St Pat's tenure

Former Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr was eight when he first stood at the wooden terraces in Richmond Park. You can still see him standing there today. 

Enda Coll
Enda Coll

20:55 23 Nov 2021



Brian Kerr is a St Patrick's Athletic die-hard fan. 

Former Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr was eight when he first stood at the wooden terraces in Richmond Park. You can still see him standing there today.

A dream story in many ways, Kerr, who had always had a better knack of organising players than being one himself, took charge Inchicore side in 1986. A club without much money, without much talent and without a trophy in over 20 years.

By 1987/88, Kerr had acquired an eclectic group of players from all over and delivered the club's first league title since 1956.

How did he do it? Madness. The good kind of madness.

He acquired players from the junior leagues like Curtis Fleming - who would go on to play for Ireland - and players from across the water like Pat Fenlon, who returned from Chelsea to link up with the club.

This mix of characters in the dressing room, mixed with Kerr's unique style of management, was a recipe for success, as Kerr told Joe Molloy on Tuesday's Off The Ball.

"It was a disciplined dressing room as well, but we did have fun.", Kerr said.

"The regime wasn't strict in terms of stopping any celebrations the lads wanted to have on the way home [from games].

Outside of bringing in gifted players on the cheap, Kerry had some unique pre-match managerial techniques, like getting one of his assistants, Paul 'Nudger' Nugent to sit in a room next to the opposition dressing room and listen in on the team talk.

"Nudger was my listener at the door to the opposition's tactics"

"There were great characters. Mick Moody, John McDonnell, Curtis Fleming who went on to have a great career in England. John Treacy was a particularly great character. He was a thorn in the side of the opposition, sometimes he was a thorn in the side of our own team."

After a successful period, like most League of Ireland clubs, St Pat's also experienced its own share of financial hardship in the 1990's, and only for some investment into the club - including some from Kerry himself - the club would have folded.

Although the success doesn't come as often to Richmond Park as the fans might like, Kerr believes there to be a magic aura around the club that keeps them coming back regardless.

"There's a bond between people who like St Pat's. There's a community around it, there's a friendliness around it. As long as the players give their best, that's all the supporters expect."

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