Impossible to dislike and as kind as anyone you could ever meet – that was Sean Brett

Sean Brett (front row – fourth from right, with cup) celebrates a memorable success with Menai Bridge Tigers

Whenever over the past 10 or so years I have needed a manager’s input in an article I’m writing, there have always been three main ‘go-to’ figures I have approached.

One is Johnny Haseldin, another is Gareth Thomas (Perry) and there was also Sean Brett.

Whether it be for a fun ‘best of’ feature of the type I have often done, or a serious issue affecting North Wales football to report on, this trio could always be relied upon for an honest and sensible response.

Life without any of them could never be the same, so it was heartbreaking to learn of the death of my good friend Sean over the weekend.

Every passing is a tragedy. There is no ‘good way’ to lose a loved one.

But if the person departed had been very ill, was very elderly or had passed in their sleep with no pain, it can be more manageable.

However, to lose Sean in the way it is believed to have happened….nothing can prepare you for that. A senseless loss of life of a man in his prime.

And a much loved man with a devoted family, friends in abundance, many of them connected to his beloved football.

Farewell to a great friend

For so many people, life will never be the same without Sean Brett.

I first began to work with him in about 2009, when he had not long taken over as manager of Menai Bridge Tigers and I wrote for local and regional newspapers.

Sean was involved in the formation of Tigers as a Saturday league side in 2009/10. The team was a progression from the Vic Sunday League outfit he was previously player-manager of.

Once Sean took over as Tigers boss midway through 2009/10, he immediately stopped playing to focus solely on management.

We soon hit it off. Sean loved local football and could always be relied upon for great match details and reaction/preview quotes. He got the balance of fun and serious just right.

It helped that the trophies soon started flowing, a variety of cups competed for within the Anglesey League and then the league title itself in 2013-14.

Sean (in black tracksuit top behind the two front row players second and third from right) celebrates winning his first-ever trophy with Menai Tigers – the Megan Cup in 2012-13

The successes kept coming in the Gwynedd League, the Cwpan Gwynedd being landed in Tigers’ debut season of 2014-15, beating Llanllyfni 3-1 in the final.

The following season the Bob Owen Memorial Shield was lifted, Lance Williams with the only goal in a 1-0 final victory over Waunfawr at The Oval, Caernarfon.

Bridge had always competed well in the Gwynedd League, so it was no surprise when the title was won in 2018-19, coupled with the Cwpan Gwynedd again, Bro Goronwy defeated 2-1 in the final. They lost in two other finals.

Under Sean Brett, Menai had won nine trophies in nine-and-a-half seasons.

He decided to step down at the end of 2018-19 and Menai suffered another blow when they were refused promotion to the Welsh Alliance League on a ground-related issue.

While Sean always maintained a keen interest in the Tigers, after a short spell on the management team at Gaerwen he became boss of Glantraeth in January 2020. The pandemic ended the 2019-20 season early and also wiped out the following campaign.

Sean (front row centre – bright yellow T-shirt) with a 2015-16 Menai Bridge line-up

Sean did not stay on for this season, which saw Lee Jones take over at the Bodorgan-based club.

While senior football took up a lot of his football life, Sean was also widely renowned for his involvement in youth development.

He gave 12 years to taking charge of his son Noah’s junior sides – right through from Menai Bridge under 7’s to the under 16’s and also managed Anglesey Juniors on a couple of occasions.

Sean always had an eye for a young prospect and many of his proteges went on to play at a much higher level, including Welsh Premier players Danny Brookwell and Sam Jones, as well as quality lads like Sam Faulkner, Guy Hughes and Andy Barker.

When Sean singled someone out as one to watch, you always took notice. If I’d been covering a Bangor City or Caernarfon Town game he wasn’t at, he’d always enquire about how Sam or Danny got on.

And perhaps that is how many will remember Sean Brett best – as a great coach who was never afraid to give youth its chance.

It is so difficult to take that we will never see that warm smile again, or hear about the latest young sensation he tipped to make it big with that ever-present enthusiasm.

My thoughts are with loving wife Nicola and brilliant children Noah and Hope – such keen young sportspeople who their dad was immensely proud of.

Even though he was not in senior management this season, I was always tagging Sean in on youth football articles, netball reports, the big stories making the news across the pyramid – and that’s because he was always so interested, always giving positive feedback.

Anything I needed, if he could help me, he would.

I was actually going to send him a personal message only last week to say how pleased I was that his beloved Nottingham Forest were doing well for him.

No doubt I’d have got a witty and honest response as usual.

I wish I had sent that message. It would have been one more nice memory to treasure of a great man and friend who touched the lives of so many.

Rest in peace Sean – you were loved and will be much-missed.

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