Trap should do more to spread the football gospel in Ireland
SOCCER ANALYSIS:I’m happy the esteemed board of the FAI decided to stick with Giovanni Trapattoni. I’m glad to avoid the inevitable months of speculation, intrigue and farce that comes when seeking a new Ireland manager.
So, what now for Trapattoni? Maybe he can renew his old ways. Go back to the basics of management he seemed so close to perfecting once upon a time. Or maybe not. We continue to beat the same old drum, but let’s look at the best “old school” managers plying their trade in England. Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton spring to mind.
These managers are either brilliant scouts or surround themselves with such men. They watch the opposition like hawks. They also communicate well with all and sundry in the game.
Look at Ferguson’s signing of Robin van Persie last summer. He simply kept open a line of communication with Arsene Wenger. That can’t have been easy.
Trap still argues the value of staying at home, watching DVDs, and communicating with players through the media and the FAI. When nudged to attend a live game what happened? Wes Hoolahan emerged from a four-year exile to get onto the bench for tonight. All those watching Hoolahan’s creative flair blossoming in the Premiership this past year can only wonder why it took so long?
Ten years ago this week we played out a forgettable nil-all draw with Greece in Athens on a terrible pitch in front of just 4,000 spectators.
Mick McCarthy had resigned after the defeats in Moscow and at home to Switzerland so a peculiar FAI process spear-headed by Bryan Hamilton, the former Northern Ireland manager, was under way.
A gang of players who starred in the previous summer’s World Cup were not present in Athens. Again, sounds familiar.
At least the presence of Richard Dunne, John O’Shea, Gary Doherty, Stephen McPhail and the League of Ireland’s hottest striker, Glen Crowe, made it feel like the start of something.
Only O’Shea remains tonight.
I watched that game as Ireland’s youth team coach, preparing for our third successive Under-20 World Cup, not really believing the FAI would trust me with the senior position if I applied. However, within a few months I had the job.By July 2005 I was a couple of years into my stint as Ireland manager and I had another new boss in John Delaney. He requested a meeting to review and discuss my stewardship of the national team.
We were still in contention to qualify for the World Cup in Germany, unbeaten with crucial matches against France, Cyprus and Switzerland coming up.
Delaney suggested I meet with a newly-recruited consultant who could help with my personal development. I was, of course, open to a bit of personal development but this sounded a little airy fairy. I was informed the man might be able to help me in the area of conflict resolution.