Sep 21, 2021 - FAS
Kenneth Joseph Worden a.k.a Ken Worden was born on 2nd February 1943 in Preston, England. He previously represented Preston North End and Burnley before migrating to The Land Down Under.
While in Australia, he guided Melbourne Croatia to the 1990 NSL Australia Grand Final runner-up and was invited by the Selangor FA (now Selangor FC) to provide technical advice to the Selangor team during 1991 pre-season in Perth.
In the middle of the same year, he was called by the team manager, Dr. Nordin Selat to assist the Red Giants head coach, the late Datuk M. Chandran after Selangor's slow start in the 1991 season before taking over full-time following the late's resignation.
Ken Worden became the immediate Selangor supporters’ favorite when he managed to lead the Red Giants to lift the 1991 FA Cup trophy, through a single goal by Ismail Ibrahim who beat Perak 1-0, avenging the loss of the inaugural edition to the same opponent the year before.
The year 1991 also saw Selangor almost create a ‘double’ when Ken Worden led the Red Giants to the 1991 Malaysia Cup final before losing 1-3 to Johor in the final.
The return of Mazlan Harun in 1992 as the team manager, revived his partnership with M Chandran as the head coach who brought a lot of success for Selangor in the 1980s has caused Ken Worden's position to be left out.
Early 1992 saw Ken Worden appointed as the national squad coach replacing Rahim Abdullah. His magical touch has led the Malaysian squad to win the Vietnam Invitational Championship, the 1992 Jakartaraya Cup, and the 1993 Merdeka Pestabola.
After his contract with the national squad was not renewed, he accepted offers from across the causeway to steer the national squad and the Singapore M-League for the 1994 season.
However, Ken Worden's stint in Singapore did not last long as it only lasted for two months before he resigned and returned as Selangor's head coach to replace Bernard Schumm.
Among the legacies left by him is that he became the last coach of Selangor at the Merdeka Stadium and the first of Selangor at the Shah Alam Stadium.
His return to Selangor for the first time saw Selangor ranked 7th in the league, but advanced to the 1994 Piala Malaysia semi-finals before being defeated by Singapore.
The year 1995 saw Ken Worden lead Selangor once again to the semi-finals of the FA Cup (lost to Sabah), the league runners-up before ending the 9-year drought of the Piala Malaysia by beating Pahang 1-0 in the final through a golden goal by David Mitchell.
In 1996, Selangor won the 1996 Piala Sultan Ahmad Shah trophy by beating Sabah 2-0, lost again in the Piala FA semi-final (to Kedah), finished the league in 7th place but managed to defend the Piala Malaysia when they beat Sabah 5- 4 through a penalty shootout (0-0 AET).
After winning the Piala Malaysia two years in a row, Ken Worden expressed his desire not to extend his contract with Red Giants and was replaced by Steve Wicks for the 1997 season.
Three years later, Ken Worden became the head coach of the Sabah team until mid-2002 before coming back to Selangor who lost the coach after the end of the League following the resignation of Haji Abdul Rahman Ibrahim to take on the 2002 Malaysia Cup challenge.
Lady luck once again smiled on Ken Worden when the Selangor team managed to emerge champions beating his former team, Sabah 1-0 in the final through the golden goal of the rising young star, Amri Yahyah.
The departure of many key players of the 2002 squad saw Ken and Selangor face a dismal 2003 season; lost 0-1 to Penang in the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Cup, was eliminated by MPPJ in the Piala FA, and stranded at the Piala Malaysia Group stage.
Adding to the pain, Selangor finished the league in 12th position, thus failing to participate in the Super League which was introduced for the 2004 season. Ken Worden's contract was not extended.
Selangor failed in their first attempt to return to the Super League after only emerging runners-up in the Premier League Group A, forcing Argentine coach Ruben Omar Larossa to have his contract terminated and Ismail Ibrahim to take over as interim coach in the middle of the season.
Ken Worden's services were called back to help the Malaysia Cup campaign, but the magic of the previous season failed to be replicated because despite advancing from the group stage, Selangor lost to Pahang in the quarterfinals.
Ken Worden, however, was kept behind the scenes by helping coach the Piala President and Selangor Piala Belia squads in the 2005 season, when Dollah Salleh led Selangor's main squad to create hat-trick titles in the Premier League, FA Cup, and Malaysia Cup.
Among the Red Giants who have been polished by Ken Worden are the assistant head coach of Selangor 2021, Adam Abdullah, and the assistant head coach of Selangor 2 2021, Rusdi Suparman.
Ken Worden passed away peacefully yesterday, September 20, 2021, at Townsville General Hospital alongside his daughter. Selangor FC prays that all family members and friends of the deceased will continue to persevere in the face of these difficult moments.
He is always considered as one of the best head coaches that the Red Giants ever had and will always be part of us.
Kita adalah satu.