FAI now caught in a Trap
Faroe Islands 1 Republic of Ireland 4:“WINNERS HAVE a hundred fathers,” sighed Giovanni Trapattoni after watching his side score four times against the Faroe Islands last night, “while losers are orphans. I know this.” What he does not know, he freely admitted, is how his current employers will now view a manager they seemed more than happy to abandon in the run up to this game.
The Italian will fly home to Milan early this morning rather than attend a scheduled press conference this evening in Dublin because, he said, his sister is in hospital and he wants to see her.
His relations with the media and the association have, he maintained been entirely unaffected by the intense speculation surrounding his future although when it comes to the FAI’s chief executive, he seemed to suggest, there is not a lot to change.
“You ask me if I speak with John Delaney and I tell you, as always, that there have been only one or two times that he has come to Portmarnock. So we haven’t talked but for us, it’s not news. Sometimes, he has come and wished us luck but not often and I’m not concerned whether he comes to talk with us.”
There are, he said, no meetings planned but the 73-year-old insisted that he was unconcerned by suggestions that Delaney, who again refused to comment on the situation last night, was ready to replace him. “It’s football, not only with the FAI. Federations, clubs . . . they change like the wind.”
Trapattoni, in fact, claimed that he had not even known that his employers might be briefing against him over the last few days. “For me that is new. I wasn’t aware of the suggestions,” he said.
The intention, it seemed, might have been to provoke his resignation; a move could save the association the expense of a very large pay off but the manager made it clear once again that he is going nowhere unless he is told that his services are no longer required.
“I have said many times that I am a man, a serious professional. I worked in other clubs with 100 per cent seriousness and that will not change. I will continue until the FAI tells me that I am not to do the job any longer. I will continue to renew the squad.
“All the people who know of me know what a professional I am. I expect to continue because we started (this campaign) three games ago and we lost one game against one of the best teams in the world.
“We won the other two and so we are just one point away from where we hoped to be – we aimed to get a point against the Germans – but it is not my decision.
“Tonight I think we deserved to win,” he continued. “We started very well. Yesterday I said I was confident about the team. I asked them for a good reaction and we started very well.”
“For 15 or 20 minutes we had the advantage although and then we lost it for a little while. But in the second half we dominated again and we scored the goals.
“We saw good performances from (James) McCarthy, from (Marc) Wilson, from (Simon) Cox, from Séamus Coleman.
“I think this was the best situation we could ask for this evening because it was not easy psychologically after the game against Germany. For me it’s only a job. I have always said that I am proud to be the manager of this team, of these players.
“We have discovered many young players during our four years and sometimes we can lose but a win like this is important for the young players. You asked yesterday: ‘Have you lost the players?’ and tonight the players answered not me.”
Pressed again on whether he feels he has the support of the association he was frank.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I know I was at three of the most important clubs in the world and I knew the procedures there. And I know what we have done in three years here; the results, the ranking, the changes in the team This I know. After that the FAI must make the decision.”
It remained entirely unclear when the association might do that or, if it has already happened, when they might inform Trapattoni or the public.
Delaney was approached both before the game but would say nothing. After the 4-1 win, he turned and walked quickly away when approached by journalists while the association’s press officer again declined to provide any clarity.
Earlier, though, Trapattoni’s decision not to stay for a day in Dublin as planned seemed to suggest that he had tired of all the media speculation and, perhaps, reacted to either a sense or a concrete indication that he was about to be dispensed with.
That, he insisted, is not the case and so, it seems, it is up the association to move if they really intend to.