The new management team in charge of Dublin club Saint Patrick's Athletic FC have spent their careers at the top of the game, and they insist that the Richmond Park outfit will retain a full-time attitude for the 2009 campaign.
St Pats, who finished second last term, reacted to the tough financial situation in Ireland by restructuring for the new season, which will see the Saints move away from the full-time professional status which they have enjoyed for a decade to allow the players to seek work outside of the game. However, the former international and Premier League players now in charge of St Pats, Jeff Kenna and Paul Peschisolido, say they will not allow standards to drop.
"I see this job as being full time because I expect the same sort of discipline and attitude from the players in relation to training, whether they think it's part-time or not," said former Republic of Ireland defender Kenna, an English Premier League winner with Blackburn Rovers FC in 1994/95. "I want to do as much training as possible with the lads, whether that's during the day or in the evening I don't know. I have to sit down with the players and discuss that."
Dublin-born Kenna returned to Ireland last year to take over as player/manager of Galway United FC, earning praise for keeping the club in the top flight since the west coast side had taken just one point from seven games when he took over. When the St Pats job became vacant with John McDonnell's resignation, Kenna said the temptation to manage a team in his home city was too much.
Kenna's first act as manager was to bring in former Canada striker Peschisilodo as his assistant. "When we were players at Derby County we always spoke about working together," the 37-year-old explained. "We agreed that whoever was the first to get a job in management would bring the other with them and that's what's happened."
Rash of changes
Kenna's appointment came amid a frenzied spell in Irish football. After McDonnell resigned at St Pats, Pete Mahon quit following five years at the helm of University College Dublin FC. Cork City FC then appointed ex-Drogheda United FC coach Paul Doolin as their new boss, and within 24 hours of that news came Kenna's appointment. He has been replaced as manager of Galway by his former assistant Ian Foster.
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