‘We would have won more titles if Stephen Kenny had stayed’ - states former Derry City striker Gary Beckett

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Gary Beckett, who won everything while at the Brandywell, firmly believes if Stephen Kenny had not taken the Dunfermline Athletic job, he would now be sitting at home with at least three League of Ireland Premier Division title medals.

Beckett, who played under the Tallaght native during his first spell as Derry boss, conceded that the Candy Stripes let two league title successes slip away in 2005 and 2006, he believed the squad was good enough to take that step and land the club’s first top flight championship accolade since the 1996-97 campaign.

“The biggest regret I have with Stephen Kenny is the fact that he went to Dunfermline in 2006, because I reckon Derry City would have had another two league titles under their belt if he had stayed,” he insisted.

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“Stephen was that good and I think it was only a matter of time before we did it, as the squad was quality.

“In 2005, it was our own fault, we needed a point at Cork City on the last day for the league and they needed to win and they beat us.

“The following year again I felt it was our own fault when Shels (Shelbourne) beat us on goal difference, but then in 2007, if he had still been there, I reckon we would have won it.

“I think he was in Scotland for a while and I would say between 2007, 2008 and 2009 I would be sitting with three league winners medals, instead of one, because it was just a matter of time.”

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Beckett, fanatical Wolves supporter, also feels that Kenny can have a similar impact to international football as Michael O’Neill has had with Northern Ireland.

Gary Beckett celebrates after scoring against Linfield in the Setanta Cup.Gary Beckett celebrates after scoring against Linfield in the Setanta Cup.
Gary Beckett celebrates after scoring against Linfield in the Setanta Cup. | jpimedia

“Look if you just look at Michael O’Neill, what a job he has done, since he has come from Shamrock Rovers, he has done an unbelievable job with Northern Ireland,” he added.

“Michael won two League of Ireland Premier League titles and a Setanta Cup and Stephen has won a lot more during his time managing in the league, now that doesn’t mean that Stephen will do a similar great job with Ireland as what Michael has done with Northern Ireland.

“But I think even the way Michael plays football is similar to Stephen. Michael has transformed Northern Ireland.

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“They get the ball down on the ground as much as they can, so it can be done and to be honest I’m hoping that it does work out for Stephen, because he’s a very, very nice man.

Stephen Kenny celebrates Derry City's UEFA Cup win over Gretna.Stephen Kenny celebrates Derry City's UEFA Cup win over Gretna.
Stephen Kenny celebrates Derry City's UEFA Cup win over Gretna. | jpimedia

“Yes you can feel his wrath, but to be honest Stephen’s wrath is usually right. If you don’t fight his wrath and just go and prove him wrong then you realise he was right in the first place.

“Stephen is a firm believer in his own ways and to be fair his own ways has got him to the top job in the south of Ireland and rightly and deservedly so and I want to wish him well.

“I really, really hope he does well and with me being a Wolves fan it means that Matt Doherty will get his chance under Stephen.

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“Matt Doherty is a ball playing right-back or wing-back, which will suit Stephen’s style of playing, so at 28-years-old, I think he will play regularly, which is great.”

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