Stephen Kenny 2006-07
Successor to Jim Leishman was Stephen Kenny. Stephen left Derry City to come to East End Park. An Irishman with a fantastic record of turning the fortunes of clubs around in his own country.
Having steered Derry to finish second in the Eircom League the previous night, Stephen Kenny took over as manager of Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday 18th November just after the SPL match against Dundee United. Stephen Kenny started his football at youth club, Belvedere FC in the north of Dublin. He played for his home town side, St Patricks Athletic and for Home Farm. His first managerial position was also at St Pats where he took charge of their U21 team in the Athletic Union League. Having won that league in his first year, he moved on in 1998 to become Ireland`s youngest ever league manager when taking over the reigns as part time boss at Longford Town at the age of 27.
His record at Longford Town was impressive leading them up to the League of Ireland Premier Division, into the FAI Cup Final in 2001 for the first time in the club`s history (which they lost to Bohemians), and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
Next stop was Dalymount Park becoming the manager of Bohemians in December 2001, going full time for the first time. When he took over, the club was in relegation trouble in 9th place in the League, but not only did he take them out of that but he took Bohemians to the FAI Cup Final that same season, losing 2-1 to Dundalk.
In his first full season 2002-2003, Bohemians won the league title and were runners the following year, but the following season he was surprisingly sacked on 27 July 2004. Despite being in a good league position, the club lost 3-1 at home in the UEFA Cup match against Levadia Talinn and he was shown the door the following morning!
Derry City made sure he didn`t weary, taking him as their manager just three weeks later. There he prevented Derry`s relegation, won the League Cup, took them to second place in the Eircom League title in 2005 and of course into UEFA Cup where his side played IFK Gothenburg, Gretna and Paris St Germain.
In 2006 Derry City finished league runners up on goal difference to Shelbourne and so qualified for the 2007-08 UEFA Cup. He has an impressive record of turning ailing clubs around and that is just what he faces at East End Park.
Irish teams are not renowned for their record in Europe, so Stephen`s record as a manager in European competitions is all the more remarkable because of that.His first European experience was for Longford Town against Bulgarian champions Litex Lovech in 2001, and Longford pulled off a tremendous 1-1 draw in the first leg before losing to two late goals in the second.Next up it was Belarus champions BATE Borisov in the Champions League with Bohemians in 2003.Bohemians lost the away leg 1-0 but stormed back to win the home leg 3-0. They then played Norwegian champions Rosenburg who had appeared for eight consecutive seasons in the Champions League group stages and unfortunately they proved too strong.This was followed by the infamous exit to Talinn the following season.
But this season he guided Derry to their first advancement in the UEFA Cup for forty years with a famous 2-0 aggregate victory over IFK Gothenburg, who are twice former winners of the UEFA Cup. That was followed by a 5-1 demolition of Gretna in Scotland with a 2-2 draw in Derry. Then finally, they played Paris St Germain. Amazingly they managed a goalless draw at home before succumbing to goals from Pauletta and Cisse in a 2-0 defeat in Paris.
By special arrangement with the Pars Stephen returned to Derry City for their FAI Cup Final against St Patricks. His side won a thrilling match in extra time.
On joining Dunfermline it took him nine games to register his first win but that was famously against Rangers in the Scottish Cup. Cup wins followed over Hearts, Partick Thistle and Hibs to take him to his second domsetic Cup Final in six months. Unfortunately Celtic proved to be one bridge too far and his Scottish Cup hopes were extinguished with a late Perrier Doumbie goal.
League form did not improve until March with the 3-1 win over Inverness Caley Thistle the first of five SPL wins out of six, a run that earned him the SPL Manager of the Month Award. Unfortunately defeat at Inverness on the penultimate day of the league campaign relegated his side.
First Division football has proved to be tough for Kenny and his side as they took just one point from the first nine. After a heavy home defeat to Hamilton Accies in October the DAFC Board confirmed their backing for the Manager but he was sacked at the beginning of December.
Stephen Kenny returned to Ireland to manage Derry City.