Steve Kean is set to return to football management, just over a year after resigning as manager of Blackburn Rovers. The 48 year old will become manager of Singaporean S-League side Brunei DPMM in 2014, according to the club website and verified by sources of Les Rosbifs associated with S-League.
It is the first time Kean has been back in employment since resigning as manager of Rovers in September 2012, when the club were lying third in the Championship. It marked the end of a tumultuous period for the Scottish coach, who oversaw a remarkable collapse in charge of the Lancashire club, who were in the Premier League when he took over from Sam Allardyce in December 2010.
In recent months there have been rumours that Kean was on the shortlist for the Milwall job (subsequently awarded to Steve Lomas) and Bury, although neither role has come to fruition. According to our sources, Kean flew out to Brunei to sign his contract over this weekend (said to include a generous salary) and will have time to prepare for the role ahead of the start of the new season, which begins in February 2014.
Kean replaces Croatian veteran, Verjan Simunic, who led the club to League Cup success in 2012. 2013 has been a little less spectacular, although DPMM did finish runners-up in the competition again. It will be a difficult job for Kean, as Brunei DPMM have a reputation for being an incredibly difficult club to work at, as the Crown Prince of Brunei and club management have a reputation for controlling most matters. These include player recruitment, leaving the coach to pick up the flak generated if things do not go to plan. One may well consider this to be par for the course as far as Kean and his managerial career to do date goes.
Brunei DPMM have competed in the S-League and the Malaysian Super League over the past ten years taking part as one of the ‘overseas teams’ these leagues allow. After winning the Singapore League Cup in 2009, the club were forced to withdraw from the competition by FIFA, who suspended the Brunei Darussalam FA for governmental interference.