FORMER Manchester City player Mickey Brennan can claim a special place in WA football history.
He is considered to be the only person to have coached the winners of both the State League title and the State Amateur league championship.
“I guided West Perth Macedonia, as they were called in those days, to the semi-pro league crown in 1985 when we lost only twice in 22 games,” recalled Mickey.
“And then when my son Lee was playing amateur football for Hamersley Rovers I decided after much pressure from the club and players to take on the coaching role in the WA Sunday Premier League where we won a hat-trick of league titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
“I believe I may be the only coach to win the State League title (Saturday) and also the State Amateur League (Sunday).”
Mickey has also enjoyed much other success since coming to Western Australia in 1983 – and his achievements will be honoured when he is inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA at the 20th anniversary Gala Dinner/Induction Night at Crown Perth on November 26.
Brennan was born in Salford, Greater Manchester, and joined Manchester City when he was 16 in 1968. He stayed with the club until 1974 and played several times in the first team. He was loaned out to Stockport County and then signed for Rochdale, playing 37 times for them.
He headed Down Under and joined West Adelaide in the Phillips National League, staying two seasons before heading for Perth to sign for Floreat Athena, linking up with Alan Vest who had been his coach in Adelaide. He captained the State side in a friendly against Nottingham Forest.
“When Alan took off to take up a coaching role in NSW, Athena appointed me player-coach,” said Mickey.
“But in my first game as player-coach I broke my right leg in two places playing at Gosnells City. That, however, allowed me to coach the rest of the year and took Athena to the Dorsogna Cup Final against Spearwood where we lost 1-0.
“After finishing third in the league we took out the Top Four Trophy beating a talented West Perth Macedonia 3-2.
“That led me to a coaching role the following season (1985) at West Perth Macedonia where as player–coach (I played in only half the games due to injury recovery from the broken leg) we won the State League title with only two defeats in 22 games on goal difference from Spearwood.
“Unfortunately I became probably the only coach to be sacked after winning the league due to the club not wanting a player-coach and they also wanted a little bit too much say in team selection for my liking.”
Mickey had a spell as a player with Perth Azzurri and then in seasons 1988 and 1989 with newly-promoted Sorrento before moving back to Athena, where he coached and played in the reserves side all season before ending up playing both top four play-off games for the first team at the ripe old age of 38.
In early 1991 he was appointed first team coach of Athena where he remained until mid 1993. During this spell Athena lost both a Night Series Final and a Top Four League decider to Perth Italia ( both 1-0) but were league leaders at the end of the 1991 season when Top Four decided the title winners.
In 1993 he teamed up with Gary Marocchi to coach the WA State side which had success against the likes of Werder Bremen, Iraklis and Adelaide City.
Marocchi and Brennan were the dream coaching team in 1994 when they were appointed to lead the Perth Kangaroos to the Singapore League title. Brennan, by this stage in his 40s, actually played three full games, all away in Singapore.
He linked up again with Marocchi as assistant at Perth Soccer Club in 1995 prior to joining the newly-formed Perth Glory for the start of the 1996 season, remaining for two seasons.
Mickey then went back to State league duties. He said: “I had a brief spell at Perth Soccer Club as head coach in 2000 but resigned due to a combination of work and family issues that made it difficult to maintain standards. Graham Normanton took over and always tells me that me resigning was the best move for him as he became very successful after that!”
He returned to the coaching scene with Hamersley Rovers, enjoying a great run of success until he stepped down in 2004.
Mickey will be a worthy inductee into the Hall of Recognition on November 26.
PIC ONE: Mickey Brennan in his Glory coaching days. PIC TWO: Mickey (left) with some of the old Glory players at the club’s anniversary reunion on October 8.