With the news breaking that Richard O’Brien will be moving into a new role at the end of the season we sat down with The “Gaffer” to get his take on life at SJG over the last number of years.

Question: Richard; could you give us a brief run through of your history with SJG?

Richard: I signed approaching the twilight of my ‘career’ scored a worldly of a volley in a friendly against Palmerstown & it all went downhill from there. Played for some good managers and with some really talented players, some who are still playing and some who’ve put away the shoe box. I grew an affinity for the club and a will to see it do well on and off the pitch

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Question:  This was your first management role in football – what would you say were the most difficult elements of the gig?

Richard: I was probably Naive going into management I’ve learned a lot from the managers I’ve played under so tried to take as much of that into the game with me.

Challenges hit you no matter what level. We’re in a saturated area full of great clubs and up and coming clubs so making the place attractive to players was difficult. Recruitment is harder than ever and I think that’s evident in the number of clubs withdrawing teams from leagues or folding entirely.

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Question: And what did you find most rewarding?

Richard: Helping players to develop as much as I could and learning. I don’t think anyone coaches or manages without a real passion for the game. I’m still learning, Uefa C next hopefully and see where we go

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Question: Favourite individual moment at SJG?

Richard: Probably my first game as a gate player! At home I think against Tolka pitch like a snooker table! There’s not many that compare to it

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Question: Moment you wish you could erase from memory at SJG?

Richard: Getting sent off for having a tinkle on the side of the pitch at HT

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Question: Things have been a struggle at SJG for quite some time, what was it that kept you coming back?

Richard: The place could and should be doing better. The core group of lads were a pleasure to be around and I’m a determined person and wanted to be the one that helped turn the corner

Question: SJG’s struggles have been there for all to see, what do you put these struggles down to?

Richard: Let’s not dwell on negatives I think this season I’ve seen positive change behind the scenes, governance, establishing a committee, creating player pathways and opportunities to increase our presence in the community will all help re establish the club in the coming years

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Question: What issues do you see with modern day amateur football that are making it difficult for clubs to survive?

Richard: There’s loads – see any tweets from any adult grassroots manager or coach. I think younger players have more options than say 10-15 years ago. More sports, better gyms, more travelling. I think there’s less resilience too probably for both players and managers. It’s always easy to quit if results aren’t going your way or the manager doesn’t pick you.

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Question: You are moving into a newly created role within the club, how will you be approaching this?

Richard: Take learnings from recent coach Ed and try to put them into practice so we’re adopting best practice going forward for the development of the club in terms of Codes of Practice, Governance & our coaching curriculum as that builds with more teams hopefully coming on board over the coming seasons.

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Question: What has been the overall feeling around the club since the “Take Over” at the start of the season?

Richard: It hasn’t translated to the pitch yet unfortunately but there’s quiet optimism. Structures are better, finances are better and plans are being made so with action and commitment the club will be in better shape over the next 1,2,3-5 years and beyond

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Question: What is it about the future that gives you the most hope that SJG can find some success?

Richard: Commitment from new directors, open transparency on the plans. Without having our own juvenile section player recruitment will still be a massive factor but I’m optimistic that with the right management team and structures in place the gate will become very attractive in the future for players of all levels

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Question: And Finally, What was the thinking behind the stepping down?

Richard: Purely family. I already know I’ll miss getting the boots on Tuesdays and Thursday. I’ve a new baby on the way, that’ll be 3 kids, two under 3 and I’m knocking on 40 so haven’t the time for it all. I’ve also taken on a new role in work which will be more demanding of my time. I’ll down at the gate as much as possible and watching when I can