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How Brian Kerr Channeled His Inner Irish Rebel To Inspire Comeback Against England

How Brian Kerr Channeled His Inner Irish Rebel To Inspire Comeback Against England
By Gavin Cooney

Irish international Stephen Elliot was the special guest on this week's Balls.ie football show  - cleverly titled the Balls.ie Football Show - and he told a couple of cracking stories, including one great insight into Roy Keane's razor-sharp wit in his Sunderland team-talks.

Elliot also gave us a great insight into just how great Brian Kerr is, and we have to say that we weren't expecting a Brian Kerr rebel speech.

The FAI's current failure to employ Kerr bemuses virtually everybody who has worked with him in the past, with Damien Duff among his most vocal supporters.

Stephen agrees wholeheartedly with Duffer, and when we asked him on the podcast what makes Kerr such an excellent coach, he offered a great insight into a 2002 under-19 European Championship game with England.

Kerr's knowledge and understanding of the game is widely respected, but what comes across here is his amazing passion for Ireland, further mocking the fact he remains uninvolved.

You can listen here, or read the transcript below:

He knew how to get the best out of players.

I remember we played England in an under-19 European Championship game. We were 2-0 down at half-time in the game. The England team was full of supposed superstars, lads who had played loads of first team games: Dean Ashton, Jermaine Pennant, Darren Bent. They'd played loads of first-team football. Us Irish lads, we only had Jon Daly, who had played a first-team game for Stockport.

At the start of the game, maybe we were a little fearful of them, but we went in at half-time 2-0 down. We get into the dressing room expecting Brian to go off on one of his crazy rants - because he had them in his locker - but instead he gathered us all around and started talking to us about our history of our country, our ancestors, and everyone watching. I think the game was live on Eurosport. It's my biggest memory of Brian, in terms of skills as a manager and [his ability] to get the best out of players, let alone his coaching, which was sublime.

We were all crying in the dressing room, 18 and 19-year old boys... we were crying in the circle. It was a surreal feeling...put it this way, we went out and we beat them 3-2. It's probably my fondest memory of Brian, even though I worked with him later on at senior international level.

I'll never forget that ten minutes in the dressing room. We went out, and there was no way we were losing that game. The English lads were looking at us in the tunnel thinking 'what's going on here, why are these lads crying?' They knew what hit them in the second half. An unbelievable feeling.

He was going into all sorts, he was saying of how we fought for freedom, he went way overboard...he obviously wanted to win the game badly!

We were ready to run through walls.

I remember the England manager came into the dressing room after the game, to say 'well don lads' and so on. We had been staying in the same hotel during the tournament, and Brian shook his hand, all smug. When the England manager left, Brian says - can I swear here? - he shook his hand, and when he left he said: 'I'm so fucking happy we fucking beat that fucker, he's been laughing at me all week in the hotel'. Little things like that...

I think he was really hard done by with the FAI, it was a really difficult group [the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign]. I don't know how's he is not involved in the international scene, because he produced so many players and then brought them on. It's a shame, really.

Superb. Stephen was a really great interviewee, offering great insight into some of the other characters at Sunderland (mainly Dwight Yorke) and had an interesting take on both Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy.


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See Also: What The Hell Is Going On With Jack Byrne At Blackburn Rovers?


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