Former Liverpool winger Mark Kennedy has been named as one of the favourites in the race for the Imps Head Coach role.
He’s shot to the top of some markets, coming on the back of Stephen Bradley’s apparent decision to remain in Ireland with Shamrock Rovers. Whilst Bradley had many turning to Google, fans of the English game will have no such trouble remembering Kennedy.
He became the most expensive teenager in British football when he left Millwall for Liverpool in 1995 for £1.5m. He was part of the infamous Spice Boys squad, the fresh-faced Liverpool side that grabbed lots of headlines, but for Kennedy, Anfield was not a happy place. He struggled to impress himself on the team, playing just 16 Premier League games in an injury-hit four years with the club. He then moved to Wimbledon, before joining Manchester City, helping them to the Premier League with ten goals in 47 matches in 2000. In his later career, he turned out for Wolves, Palace and Ipswich, as well as representing Ireland 34 times.
It’s not his playing career that Imps fans will be interested in, it is his coaching and management career, and if he is favourite there must be a reason I’m not seeing. He began coaching with the Ipswich Town academy in 2012 and managed the Under-21 side until 2016. He left Portman Road in 2016 to rejoin Manchester City as an academy coach, but left, ending up with another former club, Wolves.
He took over at Macclesfield Town in 2020 prior to their relegation out of the Football League, but was in charge for just 12 games courtesy of Covid, winning one. He rejected the offer of a permanent position following their relegation and returned to the Ipswich Town to shadow the club’s head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug in an effort to gain more coaching experience. In June last year, he was appointed assistant to head coach Lee Bowyer at Championship club Birmingham City in June 2021, the position he still holds.
I’ll be honest; this isn’t a link I saw coming. He’s a man with no senior management experience, which I know is the case with the other favourite, Ian Foster, but for some reason, I’m not convinced. It could be bookies’ posturing, but why pluck a random assistant manager from another club out, just like that? It is understood Kennedy has a good reputation in the game, having worked closely with Mick McCarthy for a long period, so perhaps he’s a football man, with the respect of his peers. Remember, many people felt Michael didn’t have the credentials, and he took us to Wembley.