Bray leg­end hop­ing to make big im­pact in his new role


Bray People - - Sports -

AN­THONY ‘BO’ McKeever is back, and he is ready to crack the whip.

Ed­die Gorm­ley’s new as­sis­tant man­ager may only be in the job for two months but he al­ready has big plans to make his mark on Bray’s cur­rent crop of play­ers and the Bray Wan­der­ers leg­end ad­mits he strug­gles to over­come how much the game has changed since he hung up his boots eight years ago.

‘Bo’ re­vealed that the job of­fer had come un­ex­pect­edly, but once he got that phone call there was no hes­i­ta­tion on his part.

‘It was just out of the blue. Ed­die (Gorm­ley) rang me and just asked could I give him a dig-out for next year and I said yeah.

‘I’ve been sup­port­ing them for the last seven or eight years, I was a frus­trated sup­porter I sup­pose, so I de­cided I might try and do some­thing about it,’ said the 46year old, and it’s a feel­ing prob­a­bly shared by foot­ball fans through­out the world but very few get the chance to do it.

It won’t be a case of be­ing thrown in at the deep end for the for­mer bruis­ing de­fender though, as he has plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence on the other side of the touch­line.

‘That’s ex­pe­ri­ence for me; I also spent a year with Pat (Devlin) as as­sis­tant man­ager. It was the year we fin­ished fourth so it was suc­cess­ful enough I sup­pose. But the two years I did with Wick­low Rovers will stand to me as well.’

But McKeever re­ally strug­gles to get over how much things have changed since his day.

‘It’s dif­fer­ent. It’s not what I ex­pected. The whole set up and all is dif­fer­ent, it’s more pro­fes­sional. I mean, what the play­ers get now com­pared to we got when we used to play, they’re mol­ly­cod­dled.

‘Jay­sus I think we used to, when I played any­way, I used to break the wash­ing ma­chine about twice a year with the dirt. Th­ese lads don’t even bring their gear home. It’s all done for them and it’s all laid out for them so it was cer­tainly an eye­opener.

‘But the game has moved on since my time, it’s changed so much.’

Those play­ers who have been en­joy­ing the mol­ly­cod­dling are about to face a rude awak­en­ing how­ever, as the avid Leeds United fan is al­ready looking to ring the changes.

‘I’m go­ing to put my own stamp on it. I have al­ready. Just a few things I’ve seen; I’ve only been in­volved in the last three matches, I’ve went to a few train­ing ses­sions and the main thing for me is to in­stil a bit of dis­ci­pline back into it. There’s stuff go­ing on that you wouldn’t have got­ten away with in my day.

‘I know it’s all moved on but I’ve in­tro­duced a code of con­duct and it’s both on-field and off-field stuff; there’s about five pages of it. So they won’t know what’s hit them re­ally with that. But I think it’s im­por­tant, es­pe­cially for the young lads com­ing through.’

The dis­ci­pline won’t be the only as­pect of the club ‘Bo’ will be looking to change though, as he also wants to get his teeth into the Seag­ull’s leaky de­fence.

‘Hope­fully I can work on the de­fen­sive du­ties, 52 goals in a year isn’t good enough. If I was a de­fender I’d nearly pack it in be­ing hon­est. But the game has moved on and it’s eas­ier said than done be­cause it’s all about ball­re­ten­tion nowa­days. We did noth­ing like that be­fore when we played and in the train­ing ses­sions, we’d have never seen a ball in train­ing but they’re never without a ball now.’

And while most Seag­ulls’ fol­low­ers will ad­mit to feel­ing lightly ap­pre­hen­sive about stay­ing up next sea­son, Ed­die Gorm­ley’s num­ber two couldn’t be more con­fi­dent if he tried.

‘Yeah. Without a doubt. With the cur­rent cli­mate and the way the clubs are sure who knows who’s go­ing to be even in the league. Pat’s, Cork and Bohs are all in trou­ble. They’ve all dead­lines to beat on the 31st Jan­uary and if they haven’t got the funds - Finn Harps are an­other side in trou­ble.’

The changes made at the Carlisle Grounds since he McKeever left haven’t been all bad though, and he ad­mits to be­ing ex­tremely sur­prised by the youth set-up at the mo­ment.

‘I’ve been very im­pressed since I’ve come back to the club with the setup of the U20s. Su­per kids. They’re a su­per lit­tle team and it’s a great set-up. I’d have high hopes for some of them play­ers. They’ll have to (come through next year), al­though it looks like the lads that said that were go­ing to leave this year are find­ing it dif­fi­cult get­ting clubs so we might be in a bet­ter po­si­tion than most.’

De­pend­ing how things go in the next year or two, An­thony ‘Bo’ McKeever’s Bray Wan­der­ers ca­reer could well go on for a long time yet but looking back on it up un­til this point, there are plenty of high­lights and low­lights to think about, even if he doesn’t al­ways want to think about the lat­ter. He does think that the cur­rent Bray squad will have the op­por­tu­nity to play in some big games just like he did in his time though.

‘I don’t re­ally like to dwell on the low­lights but I sup­pose there’s been a few rel­e­ga­tions in there.

‘The high­lights are prob­a­bly the two UEFA Cup games; they were a great ex­pe­ri­ence so they’d be up there. Ev­ery­body says the cup fi­nals but for me, it was in 1990, the quar­ter-fi­nal against Shel­bourne and then Derry in the semis.

‘I think there will be. Last year was a great op­por­tu­nity for them in the cup and they blew it. But there’s a dif­fer­ent type of player nowa­days and you’d won­der if the am­bi­tion is there or not be­cause if you look at Kevin Do­herty - who is a lovely lad and was one of our top play­ers last sea­son - he’s gone to a First Divi­sion team so where’s his am­bi­tion?’

He may have won seven hon­ours with Bray as a player, but he won’t be dust­ing down the tro­phy cab­i­net any­time soon be­cause when asked would he add to his medals tally now he’s the as­sis­tant man­ager, ‘Bo’ pon­dered for a mo­ment be­fore chuck­ling: ‘Not on the bud­get we were given this year!’.

‘Bo’ McKeever in action for Bray Wan­der­ers.

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