Arsenal Women assistant coach Lydia Bedford has been hired as Brentford’s U-18s men’s coach. Bedford joined Arsenal’s coaching staff at the end of February on a contract until the end of this season.
Bedford was the youngest woman in the UK to achieve the UEFA Pro License when she achieved it in 2019 and had a lot of experience of coaching women’s youth teams for England. In 2021, she took over from Jonathan Morgan as the Head Coach of Leicester City Women.
Bedford was sacked by Leicester in November, a decision Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall expressed surprise at at the time. “Leicester was one of the better-coached teams in the league,” Eidevall said at the time. “They looked very well structured with all the players trying to make the most of that idea.
“When we have been preparing for them, I’ve seen a lot of development of the Leicester side. I hope Lydia, as a fellow coach, can see that progress even if she didn’t get the reward from it, points-based. But I think she has improved them performance-wise.”
Arsenal appointed Bedford on a short-term contract in February during a shake-up of the coaching staff which saw Leanne Hall leave in January with Patrik Wimqvist joining in the New Year and Kelly Smith joining to work with the strikers in March.
Arseblog News asked Eidevall for clarification around Bedford’s role soon after her appointment, “Lydia is reviewing the game from an individual perspective and seeing that individual contribution from each player in offence and defence- are we getting that out of every player?
“It is so valuable to have someone with Head Coach experience, like Lydia, being able to influence the game on an individual level from the view as someone who has worked on the collective as a Head Coach. I am very excited about that and she is a great addition to our coaching staff.”
Bedford becomes the first female coach to hold a Head Coach position at a Premier League club and the Athletic’s Jay Harris reports that Bedford completed her UEFA Pro Licence alongside Justin Cochrane and Kevin O’Connor. Cochrane worked for the Football Association at the time, but joined Brentford last summer as their head of coaching. O’Connor is Brentford’s current assistant manager.