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'As time goes by, a lot of Dunfermline fans are thinking: "We should have given him more time'"

In Episode 4 of Rise of Kenny, Kevin Brannigan chats to Tam McManus about Stephen Kenny’s spell in Scotland.

Stephen Kenny pictured during his time as Dunfermline manager in 2007.
Stephen Kenny pictured during his time as Dunfermline manager in 2007.
Image: EMPICS Sport

Updated at 17.19

THERE ARE NOT many blips on Stephen Kenny’s managerial CV, but the Dubliner’s spell at Dunfermline Athletic is certainly one anomaly.

In Episode 4 of Rise of Kenny, presenter and producer Kevin Brannigan chats to Tam McManus, a striker who the Irish boss signed during his time at the Scottish side.

The podcast reflects on Kenny’s first season, when he took over in November 2006, and narrowly fell short of preventing the team’s relegation from the Scottish top flight.

It also looks at a memorable run that saw Kenny guide the side all the way to the Scottish Cup final before losing 1-0 to Celtic.

Kenny’s second season in charge is also recounted, when a series of poor First Division results led to his dismissal in December 2007 — just over a year after taking over.

The Tallaght native’s spell in Scotland is sometimes perceived as an unequivocal failure, but McManus gives a more nuanced view of his time in charge there.

The future Ireland boss, who was just 34 at the time, himself later reflected that the club might have been better off going for a Sam Allardyce-type manager with more experience of relegation battles.

However, McManus believes Kenny’s self-criticism is harsh.

“I know where he’s coming from,” the retired footballer says. “In the English Premier League, as soon as a team’s in trouble, they send for a ‘Big Sam,’ Tony Pulis or somebody like that.

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“But I think it was a brave decision from Dunfermline. It possibly was the wrong time for both. But I think Dunfermline did make the right choice, because look what Stephen has gone on to achieve in his career.

“Obviously, a bad spell at Dunfermline in the Championship cost him his job and probably rightfully. He’ll know himself that he should have lost his job.

“But as time goes by, a lot of Dunfermline fans are thinking: ‘We should have given him more time.’

“A lot of Dunfermline fans did believe in him and still believe in him.

“You speak to a lot of Dunfermline fans, whether that be out at games or on social media, and a lot of them still really rate Stephen Kenny.

“So he did have the backing of the fans and the board. But in terms of the right timing, possibly he was a little bit young and inexperienced to go into that relegation dogfight.”

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Originally published at 13.17

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