Gary Breen

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Gary Breen
Personal information
Full name Gary Patrick Breen
Date of birth (1973-12-12) 12 December 1973 (age 46)[1]
Place of birth Hendon, London, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Playing position(s) Centre back
Youth career
Charlton Athletic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1991 Charlton Athletic 0 (0)
1991–1992 Maidstone United 19 (0)
1992–1994 Gillingham 51 (0)
1994–1996 Peterborough United 69 (1)
1996–1997 Birmingham City 40 (2)
1997–2002 Coventry City 146 (2)
2002–2003 West Ham United 14 (0)
2003–2006 Sunderland 107 (7)
2006–2008 Wolverhampton Wanderers 59 (1)
2008–2010 Barnet 47 (0)
Total 552 (13)
National team
1996–2006 Republic of Ireland 63 (7)
Teams managed
2009–2010 Barnet (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Gary Patrick Breen (born 12 December 1973) is a former footballer who made more than 500 appearances in the Football League and Premier League. He played for numerous clubs over a 20-year career, including more than 100 appearances each for Coventry City and Sunderland. He won 63 caps for the Republic of Ireland, and played in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, scoring in Ireland's 3–0 victory over Saudi Arabia.


Club career[edit]

Breen was born in Hendon, London, and began his professional career as a youth player at Charlton Athletic, but never made a first-team appearance for the club. Instead, he moved to Maidstone United where he played his first league game at age 17. After one full season with the club he joined Gillingham where he eventually became a first-team regular, prompting a £70,000 bid from Peterborough United.[2]

He only had one full season at Peterborough United, but did well enough to draw attention from First Division Birmingham City, who paid £250,000 for him in February 1996. Less than 12 months after arriving at Birmingham, he was on the move again, to Premier League Coventry City in a £2.5 million deal. He played for five full seasons at Highfield Road, four in the top flight.[2]

Following the 2002 World Cup, Breen was signed on a free transfer by West Ham United by manager Glenn Roeder,[3] but left the club after relegation from the top flight and only 18 appearances in all competitions.[4] He was signed on a free transfer by his old Ireland manager Mick McCarthy for Sunderland.[4]

Breen was subsequently signed by Wolverhampton Wanderers in a two-year deal, reuniting him again with McCarthy. He played almost all the club's games as they reached the play-offs in his first season at Molineux, scoring once, against Luton Town.[5]

He was made Wolves' club captain for the 2007–08 season,[6] but ended up missing several months through injury. He was involved in an after-match confrontation with his manager in March 2008.[7]

In December 2008, he joined Barnet as a player/coach.[8] In July 2009 Breen signed a new contract to become player/assistant manager at the club.[9]

On the Goals on Sunday programme on 6 September 2009, Breen revealed that he had agreed to move to Inter Milan after the 2002 World Cup, but failed a medical.[10] Breen had also been linked with a move to Barcelona.[11] Breen left Barnet in June 2010.[12]

Breen was appointed first-team coach of Peterborough United in June 2013.[13]

International career[edit]

Breen's form at Birmingham won him a call-up to the Republic of Ireland national football team. On 29 May 1996, he made his debut when he replaced Alan Kernaghan in the 88th minute of the 1–0 friendly defeat against Portugal at Lansdowne Road.[14] Three days later, Breen made his first start in the 2–2 friendly draw with Croatia, he played 74 minutes before being replaced by Tony Cascarino.[15] He scored his first goal for his country two days later, he opened the scoring in the 3–1 defeat to the Netherlands at De Kuip in Rotterdam.[16]

Breen's form at Coventry cemented his place in his national side and he played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup as Ireland made the second round under Mick McCarthy. He scored in Ireland's 3–0 group win against Saudi Arabia.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sewell, Albert, ed. (1996). News of the World Football Annual 1996–97. London: Invincible Press. p. 401. ISBN 978-0-00-218737-4.
  2. ^ a b Where Are They Now? – Gary Breen, Pundit Arena
  3. ^ Pierson, Mark (30 July 2002). "Roeder's ability persuades Breen to join West Ham". The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Gary Breen". Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Luton 2–3 Wolverhampton". BBC Sport. 3 March 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  6. ^ "Wolves name Breen as club captain". BBC Sport. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  7. ^ "McCarthy and Breen in bust-up". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. 6 March 2008. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009.
  8. ^ "Bees land Breen". Sky Sports. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Breen named Barnet assistant boss". BBC Sport. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Gary Breen and Inter Milan". 7 September 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  11. ^ Rookwood, Dan (21 February 2003). "Gary Breen: Uppity of Upton Park?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Ex-World Cup star departs Underhill for new challenge". Barnet & Potters Bar Times. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Peterborough United: Gary Breen becomes first-team coach". BBC Sport. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Keane's apology is little comfort". The Independent. 30 May 1996. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Irish hold Croatia to end losing streak". The Independent. 3 June 1996. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  16. ^ "Zimbabwe recall Ndlovu brothers for World Cup qualifier". The Independent. 6 June 1996. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Ireland stroll into last 16". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 June 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

External links[edit]