I felt betrayed when Gordon Chisholm left for Dundee, says Queens boss Kenny Brannigan
KENNY BRANNIGAN has revealed for the first time how close he came to chucking football after pal Gordon Chisholm left him holding the baby at Queen of the South.
The Palmerston boss is itching to get the new season going after agreeing a year-long deal to lead the First Division side.
But deep down he still feels betrayed at Chis overlooking him in favour of Queens coach Billy Dodds when the pair did a midnight flit to take over at Dundee in March.
Brannigan, who turns 45 on Tuesday, has spent part of his summer going through the final part of an "A" coaching licence he started 20 years ago.
And he has finally convinced himself, after soul-searching and a run-in that saw Queens lose only two of their last 11 games, that he's ready for the job.
Brannigan sighed: "What happened with Chis and Doddsy was as much of a shock to me as it was to most people.
"I was on a major downer. We had been successful and I didn't think the partnership was going to break up.
"At the time I wanted to chuck it. But football won't always be sweet. I haven't had a beer with Chis but we spoke on the phone.
"He will always be a pal and I'm grateful for the success we had. I've no animosity towards him. The pair of them chose their path - I'm sure the finances helped.
"I'm more disappointed in the way they did it. Stevie Tosh texted me to say Jocky Scott had been sacked and asked if we had any chance of the job - I said no.
"I texted Chis about it and he replied: 'I knew last night'.
"Then he phoned on his way to Dundee and later rang to say thanks for everything I'd done."
Brannigan has never been one for the game's niceties and is a better man for it.
The 29 years he has spent in the game are testimony to the need for his kind of graft and honesty.
That's something the Queens players clearly saw as they tried to persuade him to take the job.
He said: "The players were on my side - they thought I'd been s**t on as well.
"I've always tried to avoid the politics in football.
"The good thing at Queens is there's only one guy to deal with.
"That's the chairman Davie Rae and he's brand new. I'm a gamble for the club but it's a gamble for me as well. I'm on a year's contract with a review at Christmas.
"When I was at Queen's Park it was much harder. But this time all the boys are good pros and they encouraged me the most.
"My decisions count now. It's down to my own ability."
Brannigan has been tagged as trouble for a spate of black marks against his record.
The most recent of those, a stitch-up sacking from Queen's Park after a fan attacked him at Elgin, still rankles.
But the Palmerston boss insists he's better equipped now.
He said: "I didn't enjoy dealing with the press before.
"It was always bad stuff about me as a player - I was just a born f***ing animal.
"But I'm 29 years in the game and must have done something right. Queen's Park wronged me. The club said I had done something I didn't do and they knew it. I was a scapegoat.
"So rather than the hassle I walked away - and Owen Coyle and Sandy Stewart took me to Airdrie within 10 days."
His reincarnation as a boss won't be much easier, with budgets being slashed and the potential to lose his star men.
He said: "We've had offers for Paul Burns, Bob Harris and David Weatherston.
"When they signed up we encouraged them to go on to bigger things and that time has arrived.
"I also think the chairman's views have changed.
"He was always wanting to get to the next level but now he's saying it's going to be just 16 players and two keepers.
"That's ludicrous but we'll start with it and see how it goes."