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Pray the FAI’s courtship skills improve soon or God knows which manager we’ll get

Some sources say Lee Carsley is gone, others insist he is mulling it over - we all need better sources

It was last week that Damien Duff described the rather elongated nature of the search for Stephen Kenny’s successor as “embarrassing”, although when he asked “did somebody get the women’s job?”, two months after Eileen Gleeson was awarded the gig, you had to wonder how much attention he’s paying to FAI affairs. If they appoint Jürgen Klopp tomorrow, it could be October before Duffer hears the news.

Had he been approached about the position? “Maybe through someone through someone through someone, someone asked me would I be interested in speaking to someone.” So, that was clear.

Despite that very direct approach, he ruled himself out of the running, but he remains level in the betting with Rafa Benitez, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Neil Warnock, Roy Hodgson, Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce, and marginally ahead of Phil Neville.

You might come close to choking on your cheesy nachos at the sight of some of those names, but Phil Neville? You might spend the night in A&E.


John O’Shea is the latest man to shoot to the top of the rankings, word on Tuesday that his chances of getting the job had rocketed from 2.4 per cent to 40. Although Anthony Hudson has come from nowhere to third favourite, to which most of Ireland would have asked, “Anthony who?”

This called to mind those “Arsene who?” headlines back in the day when the Wenger man was made Arsenal gaffer – and he did all right for himself. So perhaps we shouldn’t be too hasty with our who-ing.

Wikipedia tells us that among the entries in his CV, Hudson has managed Bahrain and New Zealand and is currently in charge of Qatar club Al-Markhiya. We can sniff all we like, but would we beat Bahrain, New Zealand or Al-Markhiya this weather? Hmm.

Lee Carsley, meanwhile, remains second favourite, despite a pile of sources telling us that he has no intention of leaving the England under-21 job. While another pile of sources tell us that he’s still mulling over the offer. Which tells us we need better sources.

On this betting lark. Do you remember the days when bookies suspending betting on a candidate for a job meant that that was that, the contest was over? Because (a) bookies always knew more than anyone largely because if they didn’t they’d be fleeced, and (b) someone somewhere, most likely with inside information, had just wagered a mountain of loot on the candidate for whom betting was suspended.

Thus far, betting has been suspended on Carsley and Chris Coleman, and almost on Neil Lennon. So you’d be losing your faith in the turf accountants’ sources. Next they’ll be telling us the FAI have decided to give it to Giggsie.

It was early on Monday morning that some of the reporters tasked with following this story were spotted on a Zoom call with Gleeson, who is over in Florence preparing her charges for a friendly against Italy. It was notable how much they have aged since this new manager pursuit began, one of them even appearing to be in his pyjamas, covering the new manager pursuit possibly resulting in him losing the will to get dressed.

You know those surveys that come out every so often listing the public’s least favourite professions? More often than not, journalists vie with estate agents for the top slot, or bottom, whichever you want to look at it.

There are those, of course, who will argue that sports journalists aren’t proper journalists, that they’re just folk who get paid to follow their hobby, and there’s truth in that. But if you saw the cadaverous, broken, defeated faces of those journalists on Monday, who have spent three months reporting on suspended betting, you might just give your vote to estate agents next time around. If you have a morsel of compassion, that is.

And if you possess even a forkful of compassion, you might have some sympathy for the FAI too. They want Lee Carsley, thus far Lee Carsley has swiped left on their request to get it on. Someone through someone through someone needs to beg him to give the courtship a chance. Otherwise, we could end up with Phil Neville.

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