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Simon McMenemy – Best British Coach
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Simon McMenemy – Best British Coach
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Simon McMenemy's journey from English non-league football to championship-winning manager in Indonesia is certainly a road less travelled.

Along the way, he has changed the football fortunes of the Philippines, dealt with false promises in Vietnam, chased snakes from his home in the Borneo jungle and coached a former team-mate of Cristiano Ronaldo. Now he wants his chance back home - but can he catch the attention of clubs in the UK? The story began in West Sussex back in 2010, when McMenemy had a chance Facebook conversation with two Filipino brothers, Simon and Paul Greatwich, who he had coached at Burgess Hill Town in the eighth tier of English football.

The pair told him that the Philippines national team job was vacant and McMenemy, despite being the 32-year-old assistant manager of non-league Worthing, audaciously threw his hat into the ring. Remarkably, the Philippines Football Federation was convinced. He packed his bags and left the south coast of England for South East Asia.

McMenemy's first task was to guide the Philippines to the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup - the region's major international championship. The team was nicknamed the Azkals, after the mongrel dogs that roam the country's streets, and it was a fitting moniker given their lowly football standing.

Under the Scot, however, they flourished. He led the Philippines all the way to the semi-finals, where they fell narrowly to Indonesia. But McMenemy and his team had won a host of admirers.

"We only realised the change in outlook that had happened when we got back," McMenemy told BBC Sport. "There were a huge amount of people there at the airport to greet us. There were cameras, everyone was doing interviews. It felt like the birth of a new sport in the Philippines.

"It really changed the football landscape. The last six or seven years since that happened, football has exploded. There's now a w88 mobile professional league up and running, and the club that wins the league qualifies for the Asian Champions League. That all stemmed from our success. We were the snowball pushed off the top of the cliff. "It really was a fairytale."

The fairytale quickly turned sour, however, as McMenemy - despite his managerial heroics - was dumped weeks after the end of the tournament in favour of German coach Michael Weiss.

What followed is best described as a online slot promotion malaysia journeyman few years for McMenemy, who took up club jobs in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Maldives - the latter of which saw the club owner initiate contact, and then seal the deal, via Twitter.

It brought many eye-opening experiences, including a memorable first spell in Indonesia, in the heart of the jungle in Kalimantan - where controlling the population of snakes in his garden proved as deposit 138bet challenging as controlling his players. The daily serpent chase was not something he had had to face in the South Downs. On the pitch, McMenemy's spell in Borneo began with a bang in a dramatic local derby.

"Late in the game the referee gave our opponents a corner," he recalls. "There was a huge pitch invasion because their fans thought it was handball and should have been a penalty. "The police eventually got them back in the stands - and then the referee changed his mind and gave a pen. Our goalkeeper saved it and, of course, there was another pitch invasion. It was carnage.

"We were pushed into the centre circle and armed police surrounded us as a full scale riot with 15,000 fans happened around us. Just another day in the Indonesian League!"
03-09-2018 04:39 AM
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