TREVOR McKendry insists he has ‘lived the dream’ by being involved at Coleraine FC after he has decided to step down as first-team coach…
McKendry has been a part of the management staff at The Showgrounds since February 2011 after Oran Kearney was announced as manager for the first time.
The Bushmills man acknowledged that the decision to step aside ‘broke his heart’ but that he knows the club is in safe hands to progress even further in the years ahead.
“The 12 years or so had a bit of everything,” he said.
“I always said that I was living the dream being involved at Coleraine because I was.
“I supported the club since I was a boy and I remember seeing the team who won the Irish League title in 1974.
“There have been a lot of highs and a few lows along the way but I tend to always focus on the highs.
“It’s been brilliant and the decision to step away has broken my heart as football has been my life.
“Football has given me a structure, I knew what I was doing every week and it was very tough to let go of that.
“I just think it’s my time to step away at my age as there’s a lot of very good young coaches coming through.
“I have said to Oran that I can watch other teams and players when I’m needed and I’ll certainly be at as many games as possible.
“It’s been a hell of a rollercoaster but I know the club is going from strength to strength and moving forward.”
McKendry opened up on his relationship with Kearney as the pair started working together at Limavady United prior to their appointments at The Showgrounds.
“When I left Portstewart, I was finished with football and had no plans on returning,” he reflected.
“Oran gave me a phone call and asked if I would be interested in going to Limavady with him.
“To be honest, it gave me a new lease of life and how he speaks about the game, his man management and everything else, it’s honestly different class.
“He has grown into an experienced Irish League manager and look at what he achieved in Scotland with St Mirren.
“He has got a great team around him as Winkie Murphy has become one of my best friends and his knowledge and drive is second to none, with Steven Douglas also being a great motivator and he has a wealth of knowledge.
“The physio department of Ciaran Ferris and Alan Millar are also brilliant, alongside Dr Peter Reid and Darrell Coyles as kitman. It is a tight knit bunch of good guys who only want the best for Coleraine.
“The club is in good hands and there’s no doubt it’s got tougher with the landscape changing in the Irish League, but there’s no better man than Oran to meet those challenges.”
With devoting so much time to the game, McKendry heaped praise for the love, support and patience of his family.
“I knew a month ago when we played Larne in the final home game that my decision had been made,” he continued.
“I was thinking about it last year but my grandsons and son Christopher talked me out of it.
“The Cliftonville game in the European Play-Off didn’t finish how I wanted it to but my family – including my wife Caroline and my other son Gary – were there and it was a nice way to sign off having them in the stadium as they allowed me to do everything in football.
“It is still very raw talking about it but I’m totally grateful for my time at Coleraine.”