Vinny Perth will stick to Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk blueprint
Continuity the key for Lilywhites as management restructure is made official
Vinny Perth and Stephen Kenny celebrate Dundalk’s 2018 league title win. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Vinny Perth says his plan is to stick with the hugely successful blueprint set down at Dundalk over the last few years, during which Stephen Kenny led the team to four league titles, as many cups and a few very memorable nights in Europe.
Perth, who will have the official title of Head Coach due to the FAI requiring a top flight manager to have a Pro Licence, was effectively named as Kenny’s successor on Tuesday when the club also confirmed that Ruaidhri Higgins will work as his assistant and John Gill, who does have the highest coaching qualification, will return to the club as “First Team Coach”.
Despite the managerial musical chairs, Perth insists that his intention is to have the team dancing to very much the same tune, with the style of football that won so many admirers over the past five years a key component of his plan for the future.
“I know some people find it hard to believe because of the way I played the game myself,” he says, “but that style of football is very much a part of my philosophy and I would have been one of a lot of people here working hard to allow all of the players in the team to play that way.
“A lot of people have said to me that I have big boots to fill and of course Stephen was a huge part of the success achieved by the club in recent seasons, but there was a team behind him and I like to think my played my part in all of it. I’m disappointed not to be able to take over as ‘manager’, but I see myself first and foremost as a coach, someone who can help players and improve them, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do that.
“I’m delighted to have Ruaidhri to work with and I think John is a great appointment; he brings really valuable management experience. I’ve known him a long time, he was very helpful to me when I was starting off as a young coach and he’s somebody I’ve often bounced things off since. I think he’s going to make a really important contribution.”
Perth says he knew he had a pretty good chance of getting the job from the morning after Kenny confirmed he was departing, when the American owners held a conference call with him during which they repeatedly referred to the importance of achieving continuity at the club. He has effectively been doing it for several weeks now but the announcement was held up by the search for the right Pro License holder to be part of the team and some other structural considerations.
One of those has been reported to be the impending appointment of someone to help with transfers, but Perth insists that while the board is looking at developing things “above my level”, the management team will retain “120 per cent” of control over who comes in and that what is being proposed is a greater use of the expertise already in place at Bournemouth where Dundalk’s owners also have an interest.
“The club is going to continue to mainly sign players from Ireland but when we do look at players from outside it is likely that Bournemouth have already scouted them and the aim would be to tap into that,” he said. An announcement is expected on that front in the coming week, however, along with the appointment of someone to succeed Higgins in what was an important scouting role.
The squad for the coming season is, he says, largely complete although he says he would like to add a couple of players as “it is not as deep as people seem to think it is.” He says the club has its eye on up to half a dozen players but that it will be later in the month before it becomes clear who is available and points to the example of Krisztian Adjoran as somebody who came in on loan and made an impact last season.
In the meantime, Dylan Connolly is set to leave the club, he confirms, with Wimbledon his “likely” destination. “There has been interest but we weren’t willing to entertain it until we had the Daniel Kelly deal over the line but that’s done now so it looks very likely that Dylan will be moving on.”