Dundalk won't get compensation for FAI poaching Kenny
As Dubliner groomed to succeed Mick McCarthy, Dundalk must look for replacement
Stephen Kenny: will be unveiled as Ireland’s Under-21s coach on Monday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Mick McCarthy might ostensibly have been the man of the moment, but it was abundantly clear to everyone at the new Ireland manager’s unveiling on Sunday that Stephen Kenny is the biggest winner in this week’s remarkable turn of events around the FAI. The biggest loser, of course, is his former club, Dundalk.
The Dubliner will be unveiled himself at noon on Monday, back at the Aviva where, having served his international apprenticeship, he will be in charge soon enough. His former club, though, will not receive a cent in compensation despite the fact that the 47-year-old had a couple of years to run on his current contract.
“Dundalk were brilliant,” said FAI chief executive John Delaney. “I spoke to Dundalk on Saturday with Mike Treacy and Mal Brannigan, and they were brilliant. They understood that if he was moving to another club that would be different to moving from his club to his country. They know that Stephen wanted this job and you have to be fair to Dundalk too; had we let it go on for another month . . . Dundalk have to appoint a manager and prepare for next season and we had to be fair to Dundalk FC.”
Somehow it seems unlikely that “gratitude” to the association for not leaving them linger is the overwhelming emotion being felt around Oriel Park on Monday morning.
Neither side would get into the detail of it but Kenny appears to have had a clause in his contract that allowed him to walk for free in certain circumstances. Given how central he was to Dundalk’s success, and all of the money it generated, in recent years, it is pretty much unthinkable that the club’s American owners would take this if they didn’t have to.
Their problem now is how to replace him. There are few obvious contenders from around the league and bringing in somebody who doesn’t know it is always fraught with risks. All of which would add weight to the case to be made for Kenny’s long-term assistant Vinny Perth – although the 42-year-old does not have the Pro License he needs to perform the role on a long-term basis and is currently waiting to hear if he gets on the next FAI course for the qualification.
In the meantime, the club seems to be in public denial, with no mention at all of the manager’s departure on its website as of 10pm Sunday night. All of its news items hark back to happier times, which is another way of saying nothing’s been posted in the last 48 hours.