Working in Brunei, Steve Kean made a degree of flying his spouse and kids out from their Surrey dwelling for a go to each six weeks. A good distance from his boyhood dwelling within the east finish of Glasgow the previous Blackburn supervisor by no means needed to hassle himself with the price of tickets.
‘It’s helpful when the proprietor of the membership owns the nationwide airline as nicely…’ he admits.
DPMM FC have been owned by a former goalkeeper who doubled because the inheritor to the throne. Each two weeks Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah would summon his supervisor to his huge palace to debate plans to show the membership into a serious pressure within the Asian Champions League.
Steve Kean’s teaching profession has taken him from Blackburn to Australia through Brunei
‘Working for a royal household who owned their very own soccer membership was a brand new one for me,’ Kean tells Sportsmail.
‘The Crown Prince owned the membership and I might go to his palace each month to sit down and discuss concerning the crew and the younger gamers coming by way of. We might additionally discuss concerning the international gamers I used to be attempting to get in.
‘The entire of Brunei consists of Liverpool followers. Each one in all them.
‘They’re Liverpool fanatics and I had performed in opposition to Liverpool and brought groups to Anfield and managed to get outcomes – in order that was all the time a speaking level.
The 53-year-old managed DPMM FC for 4 years, who’re owned by the Brunei royal household
‘Off the pitch they have been such a cheerful respectful nation. The inhabitants is simply 400,000, however simply with the ability to have entry to the Crown Prince and the Sultan was wonderful.’
The official residence of the Sultan of Brunei is the Istana Nural Iman. Set on the leafy riverside sprawl of hills on the banks of the Brunel River the Mild of Religion Palace is the world’s largest residential residence. Buckingham Palace doesn’t come shut.
‘It was a bit completely different from Dalmarnock Highway in Glasgow have been I grew up,’ laughs Kean.
‘The entire crew have been really invited to the second son’s marriage ceremony inside his palace, which is the most important single residence on the earth.
‘We have been sitting inside this home and it was a wierd outdated expertise.
‘I noticed it as one thing completely recent. Once I went they solely had one crew they usually had by no means gained something. They didn’t have a reserve crew, they didn’t have an academy. I didn’t see that as a unfavourable, I noticed it as a state of affairs the place I may go in and use my expertise to arrange an academy and reserve crew to develop gamers who gained trophies.
Kean is greatest remembered on these shores for his stint as boss of Blackburn Rovers
‘We gained the Singapore cup. We gained the league for the primary time.
‘I initially went for a yr and completed up staying for 4. It was an awesome 4 years.’
Twelve months in the past Kean dug the passport out as soon as extra, transferring to Australia to work as an assistant to former Hibs midfielder Grant Brebner at Melbourne Victory earlier than taking interim cost for the ultimate video games of the season. By a wierd quirk he was there when Ange Postecoglou – an A-League title winner at Victory – landed the job of managing Celtic, the membership the place he began out as a teenage reserve participant with the likes of Derek Whyte and Peter Grant.
‘Ange transferring to Celtic might need stunned folks in different components of the world, however not a lot at Melbourne Victory.
‘Ange may be very, very nicely considered in Australia and I had gamers I knew at Blackburn like Brett Emerton who spoke so extremely of him. You’ve Craig Moore who has an Australian and Scottish connection who communicate very extremely of him.
Kean left Brunei in 2014 and most not too long ago coached Australian facet Melbourne Victory
The Scot says that present Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is fondly considered in Melbourne
‘I used to be at Victory final season and a few of the employees Ange introduced in are nonetheless there and nonetheless suppose the world of him. They’re not solely at Victory, however throughout Australia.
‘He’s very nicely revered and lots of people have adopted his profession and the way in which he coaches.’
Whereas three defeats in six video games have eroded a lot of the early goodwill proven in the direction of the Parkhead boss, Kean hopes the brand new man is granted the one commodity Celtic managers hardly ever get. Time.
‘I feel Ange will put his personal id on the membership very quickly.
‘You’ll be able to clearly see the way in which he desires to play. I don’t suppose, even when groups press them excessive, it is going to cease Joe Hart throwing or passing the ball out from the again.
Keane believes the Australian wants time to implement his fashion of play at Parkhead
‘Even when they lose a aim – and it occurred at Victory that they misplaced some early targets when crew pressed them – he’ll proceed to play that means.
‘I feel that’s the way in which Celtic followers wish to see the crew play, as long as they win.
‘They wish to see the crew management possession and construct from the again. However that takes time.’
When the A-League season ended so did Kean’s time at Melbourne Victory. After rebuilding DPMM and main the membership to the perfect season of their historical past, his time in Australia was overshadowed by a few of the hardest covid restrictions on the planet.
‘I bought out simply in time. Melbourne is again into lockdown once more. Sydney is in an extended lockdown and I don’t even know if the A League will begin once more. And if it does it’s most likely going to be onerous.
Now, Kean says he’s open to a return dwelling to Scotland, the place he has by no means coached earlier than
‘I used to be there for 10 months and it was troublesome as a result of my spouse couldn’t get in, my children couldn’t get in. It’s so strict to journey in and in another country and it was powerful.
‘It’s hitting Australia onerous and it’s in a little bit of a large number sadly.
‘However while you get the chance – wherever it comes – you must take it. I labored a very long time in Spain with Actual Sociedad, I labored a very long time within the English Premier League and Championship.’
For the final 4 years Kean has labored with the SFA Teaching Training Division, serving to gamers like Scott Brown to make the transition from enjoying to teaching. A graduate of the SFA course Kean went on to educate Studying, Fulham, Actual Sociedad, Coventry and handle Blackburn earlier than transferring abroad. Oddly, he has by no means really coached a Scottish membership.
‘I might be open to it 100%,’ he admits. ‘You contemplate each one as they arrive up and it’s one thing I will surely contemplate.’