My name is Simon McMenemy, I am 35 years young. I was born in Aberdeen, Scotland but have lived in England most of my life.
2) Who do you support?
I support Glasgow Celtic. My Dad is a Celtic fan, as a Catholic family in Scotland, there was never any doubt I would be brought up in Green and White hoops. I try to get to a minimum of 2 games a year no matter where I am in the world.
3) What was your first game?
My first game was a Scottish cup game between Celtic and Dundee Utd at Celtic Park. I could only have been 7 or 8. I remember my Dad sitting me on the rails that you used to lean against in the standing area. Current Scotland Assistant Manager Mark McGhee scored for a 1-0 win and the stadium erupted. The guy in front of me grabbed me and hoisted me up like I was some kind of cup. Amazing memories. I was hooked on the atmosphere at that ground ever since.
4) What do you do for a job?
I am a professional football coach. I have been coaching since the age of 16. I have coached in 18 different countries at all levels from U5’s to full National team Level. I have been lucky enough to work with players like Fabregas and Ronaldinho while working at Nike. During 2010, FIFA confirmed I was the youngest national team manager in world football as head coach of the Philippines National Team. I was fortunate enough to take them to their highest ever world ranking and further then they have ever been in the Suzuki Cup, SE Asia’s European Championships. We reached the semi finals defeating the defending champions in their home stadium in what ESPN called one of the top Football stories of 2010.
5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I played to a semi professional level in the UK, and a couple of pro clubs abroad. My coaching work has led me to represent Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Arsenal, Northampton Town, Mitra Kukar FC (Indonesia), Pelita Bandung Raya FC (Indonesia) Dong Tam Long An FC (Vietnam) and of course the Philippines National Team. While working for Nike, I was “The Nike Guy” at all clubs so my job was to be on training ground of most clubs in the UK.
6) How did you get into it?
I always wanted to be a professional footballer. Never wanted to be anything else. It got to a point where I realized maybe I wasn’t quite good enough so my only other way into football was to coach. I had always enjoyed coaching and was keen to make it my full time career. I worked at lots of community schemes coaching young players and ended up working in Brighton and Hove Albion Community Scheme full time. During that time I worked with every social grouping trying to tackle issues using football as a vehicle from obesity, anti social behavior, mental health, social depravity, and many more. From there Nike asked me to come work for them. Eventually a chance opportunity came to coach the Philippines National team. I jumped at it. During my short time there, we experienced unprecedented success, which led me to further contracts in Vietnam and Indonesia and has opened the door to a career at and elite professional level.
7) What do you get out of it?
Apart from now being a professional football coach, I have travelled to countries all over the world. Football is a language that the world can speak. I have spent time with people who speak no English, yet can communicate using either football terms or by playing the game. It has given me an experienced viewpoint of not only the game, but of different cultures in general. Football has shaped my life. Every major decision I have made in my life has been to do with football. It has given me great friends, friends I still speak to everyday. Sometimes knowing people through football has gotten me out of scrapes as a youngster growing up. As I look back over my 35 years, had I not played football constantly as a youngster, watched every game on tv, travelled the world to share my passion for the game, I would not be the person I am today such is the extent that football has affected my life’s journey.
8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
Well, I have had a good chunk of luck in my career but I have always put myself in positions for good things to happen to me. I have worked for little money coaching all over the UK. I have tried to gain as much experience and possible, and I have networked whenever and wherever I could. I have also tried hard never to burn bridges when working. Every contact could be someone to assist you in the future. There are thousands of coaches out there, you have to do you’re job so well, that people remember you, whether that’s kids, parents, teachers, owners, anyone and everyone.
9) If you could do it all again what would you change?
To be totally honest, nothing. I try to take opportunities when they arise and get my head down and work hard to hang on to them. In 2009 I broke my leg in a tackle playing semi professional. At the time that cost me my job at Nike working with Ronaldiho and co. Would I pull out of that tackle if I had the opportunity? No, because losing the job at Nike meant I was trying hard to get back into football, it was then that the Philippines opportunity arose. Had I been still at Nike, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it.
10) Who’s your footballing hero?
My heroes in football would be Kenny Dalglish and Henrik Larsson. These are the players I would pretend to be as I banged in a goal between the jumpers playing with my mates. Both incredible footballers. But my biggest hero, probably the one that has had the biggest effect on me, someone I try to emulate, impress, and look up to……. My Dad.
- English former Philippines head coach Simon McMenemy is on his way to Vietnam (blogs.independent.co.uk)
- WHO ARE YA? Steve Obertelli (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Q & A: Simon Kuper (world’s leading football writer, FT columnist & Soccernomics co-author) (fieldoo.com)
- Brighton and Hove Albion launch Seagulls bus (theargus.co.uk)
- Dare to be Brasilian: New Nike Football Ad (karllusbec.wordpress.com)