Kevin O’Connor reflects on dramatic period for Brentford
14:04 16 December 2013
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EXCLUSIVE: Brentford club captain Kevin O’Connor believes that the Bees are in the best position they have ever been in during his 14 years as a first team player.
The 31-year-old made his debut for the club in February 2000 and has gone on to make 492 appearances for the west London outfit in all competitions.
One club players are rare in the modern era and O’Connor has seen changes in his long association with the Griffin Park outfit.
“This is my club and it always will be with the amount of time I’ve been here,” he told London24. “It’s definitely in the best position I’ve ever seen it.”
The past 11 days have been some of the most dramatic for the club in its 124 year history.
Brentford were granted planning permission for a new stadium on Lionel Road by Hounslow Council [the application has to be rubber stamped by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Secretary of State Eric Pickles] before Uwe Rosler left for Wigan less than 48 hours later.
“I was keeping my ear out [on the planning meeting],” O’Connor added. “I was watching it on YouTube.
“It was a great response to the yes vote. It’s a tremendous step for the club.”
Having been at the club so long it would surprise nobody to see O’Connor still at the club for the first game at Lionel Road.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s two and a half years away.
“It’s brilliant for the club. I’ll be there [in the stadium] no matter what.”
Rosler’s departure came as a blow to morale but the family reasons behind his departure were understood by the captain, whose main focus is on helping new boss Mark Warburton, who had been sporting director during the German boss’ time at Griffin Park.
“It was a big blow,” he added. “When you see how well the team and club has progressed. I am gutted to see him go.
“I wish him all the best but we’ve got a new manager and long may it continue the way we’re going.”
O’Connor, who made three appearances for Republic of Ireland’s under-21 side, has seen Brentford have 15 men managing the club for at least one game.
And he believes that the appointment of Warburton is a positive one for the club.
“There’ve been a few,” he said. “I’ve seen off a few managers.
“I think it’s a good appointment and keep things going as they are in the league.”
He added: “He’s probably going to have a few tweaks here and there. It’s been very successful the past two and half years.
“We lost the manager but Warbs has come in and not changed the dressing room. It’s a new face with one or two ideas.”
Another new face in at the club is Frank McParland who has stepped in as sporting director.
McParland comes with excellent pedigree and is credited for bringing the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan through the ranks at Liverpool – both scored in Sunday’s 5-0 win over Tottenham.
The captain said: “He’s got bags of experience so I’m sure he can step into the role really well.
“I’ve only seen him a couple of times. Hopefully I’ll get to know him and pick his brains a bit. “
O’Connor watched from the bench as Jonathan Douglas’ stoppage time goal hand the Bees a victory that moves them up to third in the league table.
“It’s one of them where I wasn’t sure if it was going to come or not,” he said. “We’ve got another late goal that end – it’s unbelievable.
He added: “There’s been a lot going on. We’re pleased the win today for the new manager and keep us going in the league.”
The one-club man had hoped that Alan Kernaghan and Peter Farrell would stay as Warburton’s coaching team but the pair have decided to leave the club.
The 31-year-old has been taking his coaching badges and would be honoured if he was asked to help out in that department saying: “I’ll have to be asked first but I’ll be more than willing.”