MADCAP Yorkshireman Dylan Kerr stood bare in a shower whereas hen blood was poured over him as a part of a voodoo ritual.
That initiation ceremony launched a weird footballing journey which has seen Kerr face bribes, strikes and match-fixing gives, and cope with ravenous gamers, bulls’ penises and enjoying on pitches coated in donkey dung.
Dylan Kerr celebrates profitable the Kenyan Premier League with younger fansAll this for a person who skilled with Eric Cantona and took his Uefa Professional Licence with Jose Mourinho.
Kerr, who has received trophies on two continents, jetted off to South Africa after being launched by Sheffield Wednesday within the late 1980s for his party-boy life-style.
It was there, as a naive teenager in Pretoria, that he was pressured to strip off by Arcadia Shepherds soccer membership officers to be splattered with animal blood.
Kerr, 52, revealed: “In my first coaching session they stood me in a giant bathtub, bare aside from my boots.
“They lower three hen heads off and threw them at me. That was my welcome to South African soccer.
“I needed to stand nonetheless till the blood hit my boots. They believed in juju and I used to be there, coated in hen blood.
“These items that occurred to me as an 18-year-old, effectively your jaw would hit the ground. I sampled a tradition far weirder than the UK.”
Moderately than hop on the primary airplane dwelling, the defender stayed for a 12 months earlier than becoming a member of Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds and later transferring on to Studying and Kilmarnock.
He loved an honest profession, with the spotlight being the 1991-92 season when he acted as an early-morning coaching accomplice for Cantona as Leeds received the title.
However it’s as a coach the place he has thrived. Aside from Bobby Robson and Roy Hodgson, it’s arduous to think about one other Englishman who has had such success overseas.
In Vietnam, Kerr received the nationwide cup with Hai Phong — the one British coach to carry a trophy in south-east Asia.
But nights on the market resembled a bushtucker trial as he ate native delicacies of baked budgies, bulls’ penises, cows’ eyeballs and photographs of snake hearts.
Not solely had been there scheming dressing-room interpreters “who thought they had been Jose Mourinho”, Kerr additionally needed to cope with brokers providing him bribes to simply accept their gamers — approaches that he all the time rejected.
In Kenya got here his greatest managerial moments, profitable back-to-back league titles with Gor Mahia. Glory got here amid a backdrop of economic turmoil — with stars usually not paid for weeks — and shambolic services, together with donkeys grazing on pitches in Nairobi.
Kerr mentioned: “It was horrendous. You would not stroll your canine on some fields we performed on. But that was Kenya’s Premier League.
“Six of my gamers received jobs in work-yards as a result of they could not afford to eat. One misplaced 8kg as he wasn’t consuming.
“In my final six video games, my gamers downed instruments. As soon as I needed to knock on doorways, begging gamers to fulfil the fixture. However they’d go on the pitch and lose as a result of they weren’t being paid. I understood nevertheless it was irritating.”
Kerr, who has the Gor Mahia crest tattooed on his left ankle, at the very least prevented the destiny of his predecessor.
He revealed: “We by no means had points with followers as a result of we had been profitable.
“However the earlier coach misplaced three video games on the run they usually tried to burn the bus with the gamers in it! They smashed all of the home windows.”
Since November, Kerr has been the coach of South Africa Premier Soccer League aspect Black Leopards, masterminding their relegation struggle.
They want three wins from their closing eight matches to ensure staying up — one thing Kerr claims could be his “greatest achievement”.
If profitable, he’ll rejoice with one other tattoo. However two weeks in the past he was rocked by an nameless Fb method from a man in Germany to repair a match.
Kerr mentioned: “It was disgusting and sickened me. He mentioned, ‘We are able to make it very worthwhile for those who organize the result of video games’.
“I used to be furious. Right away I blocked him. I wrote to Fifa with this man’s Fb title. My repute is vital — I’ve my ethics, morals and my mum to cope with!”
Whereas he’s pleased in South Africa, he would love at some point to return to England and nearer to mum Gloria.
Kerr, who speaks 5 languages, mentioned: “My CV has been win, win, win. I’ve by no means been sacked, by no means resigned, by no means walked away from a contract, by no means been relegated.”
And Mourinho is a fan, after they hit it off on a Professional Licence course. Kerr added: “Jose known as me ‘Loopy Dylan’. He had by no means seen anybody who would work arduous in the course of the day after which celebration at night time. I am positive he’d keep in mind me nonetheless!”