Noel King named interim Ireland manager
Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter to carry out assessment of managerial market as FAI steps up search for Giovanni Trapattoni’s successor
Republic of Ireland under-21 manager Noel King has been appointed the interim manager of the senior side. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The FAI’s board has confirmed that Noel King will take temporary charge of the Republic of Ireland senior team with the current under-21 boss set to oversee October’s World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan while Ray Houghton and the association’s High Performance Director Ruud Dokter conduct a “comprehensive assessment of the (managerial) market”.
The move would seem to undermine the chances of Martin O’Neill succeeding Giovanni Trapattoni with board members believed to have been in favour of pursuing a deal with the northerner if the basis for striking one appeared to exist.
Having been such a hot favourite for the job, the former Sunderland and Aston Villa boss would be unlikely to welcome the prospect of becoming embroiled in a long, drawn out selection process and may not appreciate the idea of interviewing for a job he is believed to have been sized up for already.
In the event that the association’s leadership has simply cooled on the idea of appointing O’Neill, the senior team’s next manager could take until into the new-year to appoint with Trapattoni’s unveiling coming some three-and-a-half months after the departure of Steve Staunton.
Another possibility is that O’Neill himself might not want to take charge for the clearly difficult Germany game although this would be a pretty remarkable position for any prospective manager to adopt, especially one who is going to subsequently take over and, at that stage, live with the consequences of Ireland’s results next month.
Whatever the reasoning, King now gets to take charge and the former Shamrock Rovers boss, who enjoyed considerable success after first moving into international management with the Irish women’s teams, said last night that: “I am delighted to have been named caretaker manager for the next two games and I’m looking forward to naming the squad on Friday.”
Although the games themselves are important primarily from the perspective of ranking positions and steadying the ship, the 56-year-old, who is currently in England, may well underline the end of the Trapattoni era by bringing back one or more of the players who fell out with the Italian.
Darron Gibson and Anthony Stokes, both of whom have signalled their desire to be considered by any new manager, would appear to top the list while Stephen Ireland has also suggested that he would like to discuss the matter.
King will be advised in the role by Dokter, who has coached a number of the Dutch national underage times at different times over the course of a long career with the federation there and, it seems, goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly.
King’s current assistant, Harry McCue, will take charge of the Under-21s for their forthcoming European Championship qualifiers against Romania.
Dokter, meanwhile, will also play a central role in the search for a longer term appointee, it was confirmed after last night’s meeting.
“After considering the views of people within the game and taking soundings from its constituent members,” the association said in a statement, “the board tonight decided that the next steps should include a comprehensive assessment of the market.
“It was agreed at the meeting that former international Ray Houghton, who was involved in the last managerial appointment process and Ruud Dokter, the FAI’s newly appointed High Performance Director should carry out this ongoing assessment and report for the board.”
The terminology suggests a much wider search than had seemed to be on the cards over the last couple of weeks and in its statement, the association confirmed that a quick appointment is not now seen as a priority. “The board of management resolved that it will take the appropriate time to appoint the best person to manage Ireland for the Euro 2016 campaign which starts in September next year,” it read.