After more than two years with the Loyola Meralco Sparks, Simon McMenemy will be moving on to a new chapter in his coaching career.
His signing in August of 2014 was received with plenty of excitement, and within six months he showed why. McMenemy led a new look squad to a first-ever PFF National Club Championship title, beating rivals Ceres-La Salle and Global in the process. The trophy held a special significance, as it was his first as a professional coach.
Speaking about his departure, the Scot admitted it wasn’t easy having to leave a squad he had grown close to over the last two seasons.
“It’s always very difficult,” he said at his farewell dinner. “When you have such a close unit like this team — it’s such a close group of players — it’s hard. It’s really hard to wake up tomorrow and think that I’m not doing this again. I’m not gonna be around these guys. It’s a difficult group of players to walk away from.”
Famous for his role as mentor to the historic 2010 Philippine National Team, which defied all odds to reach the semifinals of the Suzuki Cup, Simon McMenemy will forever be linked to the growth of football in the country. And while his presence and focus will now be placed in a different part of the world, he urged everyone in the Philippine footballing community to come together in continuing the sport’s upward climb.
“I think football is very much still in its early stages here. It needs a combined effort to take it to the next level. You can’t just rely on players. You can’t just rely on sponsors. We can’t just rely on the PFF. We can’t just rely on the UFL. Everybody involved in football, watching football at home or able to get into stadiums, everybody should be playing a part,” he expressed.
“Come along and support the games. Be passionate about it. Buy a shirt. Come along and get your kids involved.”
His passion for the game, often evident in his expressive nature on the sidelines, will be remembered fondly by the club’s supporters. And even upon his departure, he emphasized again his deep desire to see the sport continue to flourish in the country.
“Football is being brewed by going to Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga. Such trips could do so much good. I think it’s something that everyone should get involved in and everyone who wants football to be in a better place has a responsibility to help us.”
“It shouldn’t just be about the clubs,” he concluded
Simon McMenemy’s impact on football’s development in the Philippines has been profound, and will remain strong in the years to come. The club wishes him all the best in his next adventure.