Brendan Rodgers was born on the 26th January 1973 in the small seaside town of Carnlough, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. His first taste of football came when he attended St Patrick’s college in the nearby town of Ballymena.
“When I was young I loved football but I never actually had the chance to play it at any level until I was 13 when I went to St Patrick’s College in Ballymena.”
Rodgers grew up supporting Celtic FC. In a recent friendly match between Swansea dn Celtic he offered a “special welcome to the travelling supporters I have stood alongside in the past”.
Rodgers played his youth football for Star United between the ages of 12 to 16, and his coach from that time, Arthur McClean, commented on Brendan’s time as a young footballer in this article from the Ballymena Times:
“He was very dedicated – most of the other boys in the Star team would have been from in and around Ballymena but Brendan’s father would bring him up from Carnlough each week. He was a good player and he could well have had a very good career in the game, had he not suffered from injury. He was confident in his own ability without ever being arrogant – he was a nice lad to work with.”
He has done very well for himself – he was very highly thought of at Chelsea and he has has a good start to his management career. I was talking to him when he was over here with Chelsea for the Milk Cup a few years ago – he was recalling the times when the boys used to train by running laps around the Showgrounds and the old sheep pens at the bottom which are no longer there.
I’m very pleased for Brendan and it would be great to see him managing in the Premier League.”
Rodgers was signed by Reading in 1990 after having trials with numerous clubs including Manchester United.
“But I was spotted quickly. I was a left-sided midfielder and I tried out for a lot of clubs, but the first was United. Eventually, though, I settled on Reading. It had a big Irish community and I was impressed by the manager, Ian Branfoot. But I never made the first team, although I travelled on the bus once.”
However his professional career was cut short due to a genetic knee condition and he was forced to retire at the age of 20.
He played for a few non-league clubs including Newport on the Isle of Wight, Whitney Town, and Newbury Town. But whilst continuing to play a bit of football, his main focus was on coaching. He coached as well as played at Newport, but it was Reading who offered him a great opportunity to continue to work with them on the non-playing staff.
“I had already been told I could make it as a coach. I was confident in my technique and I could communicate well. I had to work before I could go full-time though. I worked in the John Lewis warehouse near Reading while I studied. At 6am, I was there, shifting stuff, doing paperwork. Then I’d coach in the evenings. It was a hard route and I had a young family, but I couldn’t have had a better apprenticeship.”
Early Coaching Career
Date of Birth
26 January 1973
Place of Birth
Carnlough, Northern Ireland
Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Left sided midfielder
Star United/Ballymena United 1985 – 1989
Reading 1990 – 1993
Whitney Town 1995
to be updated soon…