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Kenny Brannigan

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Good article on him on the bbc sport website today.

He must've left Killie around the time I started going to games. His is a name that always seems to crop up when people talk about hard players.

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The only one of the Seven New Wonders of the World that Kenny Brannigan hasn't seen in person, he says, is the Taj Mahal.

He's gone from breaking jaws and fighting with fans, to the grandeur of Rome's Colosseum. From a brawl in a Saltcoats nightclub, to the mystique of Machu Picchu, Peru's lost city. From a suicide attempt and losing his business, to coaching kids in Beijing and visiting the Great Wall of China.

It has been quite the adventure for a Scottish football journeyman, who spent time with 14 clubs after signing for Queen's Park in 1982.

Brannigan was, by his own admission, no-nonsense, win-at-all-costs. He was a man of the times, a product from the streets of Glasgow's Bridgeton where no quarter was given.

"A square go? If you come and fight on my turf, you're going to get battered," he says of his mentality as a player. "At three o'clock on a Saturday, I was wound up to batter everybody.

"You go out and do the things you're good at. I never got beat in the air. The boy that comes to mind is [Steven] Thompson from Rangers - I won every single header for Airdrie at 38 years of age against him playing for Dundee United. I retired two games later and he signed for Rangers a few weeks after that."

Brannigan's candour is also a mark of the time he played in. Although unapologetic about his attitude, there is regret about overstepping the line at times.

He admits there was a simmering temper, which sometimes burst through. While playing for Kilmarnock in 1989, he got up one morning to read in a newspaper he had been sacked for an incident at the game the day before.

He was up against a player who had left the club a few weeks previously, Derek Cook, and says he was kicked in the back of the head during a challenge. Big mistake.

"I knew I was going to be in for a time of it - I stuck the nut on him anyway. I got the sack. I damaged the boy."

Brannigan broke Cook's jaw, but undeterred First Division rivals Falkirk - then managed by 29-year-old Jim Duffy - signed him. They would narrowly miss out to Dunfermline Athletic in the race for the top-flight, but the main headline that season was an infamous incident in a Saltcoats nightclub.

Brannigan recalls a scuffle in a bar as some locals started a fight with team-mate Colin McNair on a squad night out. "Wonderful footballer [McNair], but he was a troublesome guy and he got dug up. It could have been all-out war but we broke it up. But the boy went and got all his pals and they were after McNair again.

"It was a stitch up. They called us the 'Saltcoats Seven' and we went into the club the next day, and I was the one who had to go and tell Duff: 'Look, we got the jail on Saturday night, seven of us got stitched up.' Every one of us left the club that year..."

Two douses of controversy did not put Stranraer and Stenhousemuir off signing Brannigan and he helped both to Challenge Cup success and the former to promotion from the second division.

But football proved a fickle friend. His coaching career at Queen's Park was cut short after an altercation with a fan, when Brannigan insists he was the one punched -"If I'd a banged him I'd have put him in the hospital, trust me".

And though he was assistant manager at Queen of the South as they reached the Scottish Cup final in 2010 and got into Europe, his sacking as manager of the club in 2011 - having replaced Gordon Chisholm - marked the start of a dark period in Brannigan's life.

The phone stopped ringing. His property and pub businesses collapsed around him, and personal tragedy also struck. The game was no longer his saviour.

"In one year I had lost nine properties, one pub, I had lost another one a couple of years before, just under £300,000 in the bank, and I lost my brother, and I lost my job. I tried to kill myself.

"Going away to Canada to sort my head out was the best thing ever. I was in a bad way, a real bad way."His savour was Andy Kean, founder and chief executive of FirstPoint USA, a company which aims to set-up teenagers with sporting scholarships in the US and elsewhere around the world, and for whom Brannigan now travels the world as a coach and talent-spotter.

He and his life have changed for the better, and his passion for football is undimmed. What drives him now is not leaving stud marks on centre-forwards, but giving kids an opportunity.image.gif.8804299c979f46a3d30efc8d9a481703.gif

"We're living in an illusion - 54% of clubs in Scotland are full-time," he says. "If you're lucky, you'll get eight to 10 years out of the process, and more than one or two managerial jobs.

"You put a kid out to the States who's going to play for the love of the game. He's still studying for a degree, for a long-term future. To change a kid's life long-term is a fantastic thing.

"If you're not good enough to play at the top, where's your future? It's part-time and you need a job. There's got to be a process when kids sign with a club that there's some sort of educational thing put in place so they don't hit mental health [problems]." 'I've seen the wonders of the world'

The elimination of insecurity in football is the 54-year-old's mission, and Brannigan has mellowed from the days of bawling at team-mates, too. He's had to.

His new life, which also involves working as a scout for Hamilton Academical, has provided unique challenges for the tough, but softly-spoken, Glaswegian.

"If you go to Canada, to America, you have to change. You can't even swear," Brannigan says. "For a guy like me, not to swear when you're teaching is so difficult after going through your whole life swearing at players.

"I'm from Bridgeton, but I've not lived there in 20 years. I've seen all the wonders of the world doing what I do for a living. So for a young boy who couldn't afford a pair of football boots to doing what I do, the difference..."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51552821

 

 

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The Cook incident was a real red mist moment and reading the above  it sounds as if he went into the game expecting to 'do' him one.  Always thought Cook made a meal of it too as my recollection is he looked up and laughed at the East Stand - how he did that with a broken jaw though....

Glad he seems to have mellowed and found a fulfilling role.

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I was down the front of the East stand when it happened, couldn't believe my eyes. I remember the discussions about Jim Fleeting sacking him. Was he right or was he wrong ? Certainly didn't take any prisoners as a player.

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For some reason I thought it was in front of the old terracing, I’m sure I watched it from the Hotheads and Bampots section of the old enclosure which was seated first . But a lot of water ( and other liquids) have passed since then 

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I watched from the hotheads and bampots section too, but my memory is of the incident being in front of the opposite terracing and close to the half way line.

See auld yins... see memories :D

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4 hours ago, theboyjohnston said:

The Cook incident was a real red mist moment and reading the above  it sounds as if he went into the game expecting to 'do' him one.  Always thought Cook made a meal of it too as my recollection is he looked up and laughed at the East Stand - how he did that with a broken jaw though....

Glad he seems to have mellowed and found a fulfilling role.

Cooky’s jaw wasn’t broken

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Always looked like he could start a fight in an empty house. Wasn't that good a player if i remember correctly

Quite cocky when he talks about playing Stephen Thompson - I know whose career I would rather have had

Edited by historyman

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7 minutes ago, historyman said:

Always looked like he could start a fight in an empty house. Wasn't that good a player if i remember correctly

Quite cocky when he talks about playing Stephen Thompson - I know whose career I would rather have had

Headcase

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2 hours ago, killie billies pal said:

For some reason I thought it was in front of the old terracing, I’m sure I watched it from the Hotheads and Bampots section of the old enclosure which was seated first . But a lot of water ( and other liquids) have passed since then 

It was directly in front of me and I recall it was the old terracing. KB arched right back - that said Cook was smiling at us through his open hands. 

Was surprised Kenny was sacked as our defence was well suspect then. 

Cook was not a good player for Killie. And this nailed his arch-nemesis status.

 

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I wasn't at the match and nothing was televised so I haven't seen the incident.

But I was impressed by the speed with which Fleeting dealt with the incident. I thought he was sacked on the spot though so I'm surprised he says that he learned via the following day's paper.

I suppose it's one thing sacking a Second Division duffer and another thing to do it to a multi-million £ player!

 

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14 minutes ago, skygod said:

I wasn't at the match and nothing was televised so I haven't seen the incident.

But I was impressed by the speed with which Fleeting dealt with the incident. I thought he was sacked on the spot though so I'm surprised he says that he learned via the following day's paper.

I suppose it's one thing sacking a Second Division duffer and another thing to do it to a multi-million £ player!

 

Exactly. Would a better player have been sacked by Fleeting ? 

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3 hours ago, killie billies pal said:

For some reason I thought it was in front of the old terracing, I’m sure I watched it from the Hotheads and Bampots section of the old enclosure which was seated first . But a lot of water ( and other liquids) have passed since then 

Definitely old terracing

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3 minutes ago, BigD'sGingerLorry said:

Had Jim Fleeting not long taken over as manager when the incident happened?

Don't know the month but it was 1989 so not long after he took over. 

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1 hour ago, skygod said:

I wasn't at the match and nothing was televised so I haven't seen the incident.

But I was impressed by the speed with which Fleeting dealt with the incident. I thought he was sacked on the spot though so I'm surprised he says that he learned via the following day's paper.

I suppose it's one thing sacking a Second Division duffer and another thing to do it to a multi-million £ player!

 

Was asked about incident on west sound straight after game when commentator asked jim fleeting  about it  was told live on air he had been sacked

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52 minutes ago, Wrangodog said:

Exactly. Would a better player have been sacked by Fleeting ? 

Would have been hard as one of the pish killie teams i have supported since the late 60s

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3 minutes ago, killie1961 said:

Was asked about incident on west sound straight after game when commentator asked jim fleeting  about it  was told live on air he had been sacked

Correct - I remember hearing Fleeting saying that on the radio.

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The incident was right in front of the home terracing near the half way line. The game wasn't long started. Although Cook was a bit of a w****r, smiling as he lay on the deck, Brannigan was an absolute idiot for head butting him. He rightly got a straight red and Jim Fleeting made the right decision in sacking him.

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4 hours ago, killie billies pal said:

For some reason I thought it was in front of the old terracing, I’m sure I watched it from the Hotheads and Bampots section of the old enclosure which was seated first . But a lot of water ( and other liquids) have passed since then 

That's what I thought.   I stood near the fence and seem to remember it happening right in front of me. 

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