Dubliner Dean Brennan making waves on the English non-league scene

Fri, Jun 19 2020

Credit: Adam Williams/Wealdstone FC

Wealdstone are back in the top-flight of the English National League after a 32-year absence, a feat delivered by Dubliner Dean Brennan.

Wealdstone were promoted after teams in the three non-league divisions voted to the end the COVID-19 disrupted season using the points per game method.

Wealdstone will be joined in the National League's top tier next season by Kings Lynn Town who were crowned champions of the National League North – a side who were also helped by an Irish hand in former UCD and on-loan Norwich City winger Simon Power.

Dubliner Dean Brennan is greatly experienced when it comes to the English non-league scene, he himself started his playing career at Sheffield Wednesday before featuring twice for Bohemians in the FAI Super Cup.  

He soon moved back to England to link up with Luton Town before going on to play for various clubs across the English non-league system.

He began started his managerial career at one of his former clubs Hemel Hempstead before moving onto Billericay Town and Kingstonian before joining Wealdstone last summer.

Despite being 33/1 outsiders to go up as champions in the National League South – Brennan’s Wealdstone took their division by storm, scoring seven goals in two consecutive matches on the way to the title.

The title was won on a shoestring budget with the club still being semi-professional, with Brennan being helped in no small way by some more than useful loan signings.  Aston Oxborough who was drafted in on loan from Premier League Norwich City.

Norwich City loanee Aston Oxborough kept more than his fair share of clean sheets this season on route to the title and he is a player that Brennan admits he would like to see in a Wealdstone shirt next season.

Coincidentally, Dubliner Brennan isn't the only Irish influence at Wealdstone. The club is originally from Wealdstone in the London Borough of Harrow which is traditionally known for its Irish population. They currently play in an equally Irish area of London in Ruislip with their home ground; Grosvenor Vale only a stone’s throw away from McGovern Park – the home of London GAA.

Brennan also mentioned there's a Dublin contingent that comes to games and was given a Wealdstone Tricolour pin badge he now proudly wears on his Wealdstone polo shirt prowling the touchline at every match.

He also compared the Wealdstone fans ability to mix with players in the just like fans of Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians and Sligo Rovers do in the League of Ireland was important during the club's success this season.

“The intimacy is brilliant you can have a chat and a beer with fans and the players, discuss certain incidents such as strikers missing chances and it brings everyone around the club together,” he told extratime.ie.

On the pitch, there's also an Irish representation in the squad, with former Watford under-23's defender Connor Stevens who has an Irish background.  

Former Football’s Next Star finalist at Inter Milan and Westmeath native Connor Smith also now plies his trade for the club after representing Ireland at both under-19 and under-21 level.

Looking ahead to next season Brennan is remaining grounded and knows that given the current Coronavirus pandemic, and admits it will put the future of non-league club’s in question.

“If the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and the Premier League can help out that would be great, it’s all about surviving right now,” he adds.

Once the dust has settled from the current pandemic and normal football service resumes, Brennan admitted on the football pitch it's going to be a challenge for Wealdstone.

However, both he and his backroom team are more than confident that his side has the ambition and the ability to rise to the challenge no matter how big or small that awaits them next season.