The name of Filippo Giovagnoli adds to chaos in Dundalk’s post-Perth world

Italian doesn’t have a Uefa Pro License but is expected to take training on Tuesday

Dundalk are without a manager following the exit of Vinny Perth. Photograph: Aleksandar Djorovic/Inpho

Dundalk are without a manager following the exit of Vinny Perth. Photograph: Aleksandar Djorovic/Inpho

 

In what appears to be a bizarre twist to the increasingly strange story of Dundalk’s latest title defence, Filippo Giovagnoli is expected to take first team training on Tuesday morning. The Italian, whose career had almost exclusively revolved around schoolboy football, academies and summer camps up until this point is reported to have been appointed by the club until the end of the season.

Giovagnoli is to be assisted by a - though sadly not the - Giuseppe Rossi. The pair have worked together for several years at the Metropolitan Oval Academy in New York. Neither has the Pro License that they technically need to manage at Premier Division level but the club is actually not short on Pro License holders as both Alan Reynolds and John Gill, who took charge of the first team between them at the weekend, as well as opposition analyst Shane Keegan, all hold the qualification.

At least one, maybe more, would be expected to stay in the circumstances although Dundalk could also seek a 60-day exemption for Giovagnoli who had a spell as an academy coach with AC Milan where he appears to have overseen the club’s summer camps.

The question is whether any would want to when it seems that Vinny Perth was being told what team to pick and was removed from his position despite having won the League and League Cup last year. He is understood to have declined to follow the guidance given from above ahead of the Champions League qualifier against NK Celje last Wednesday. Clearly the result and the manner of the defeat itself did not help his cause but his position, it seems, was already becoming untenable.

Perth is understood to have divided opinion among the players after having had some difficulties with some of them as he made the transition from Stephen Kenny’s assistant to manager in his own right. The scale of his success last season, however, would have been expected to earn him more autonomy and time.

The result last week was clearly a disappointment for a club that has dominated at home in recent seasons and owners whose business plan is understood to revolve around at least the occasional repeat of the Europa League success enjoyed under Kenny in 2016.

Still, his departure and some of what has occurred since has promoted widespread surprise. The job was subsequently offered to former Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane, it seems, and another couple of prominent ex-players were linked with it along before Giovagnoli’s name was first reported by local journalist James Rogers on Monday.

The move looks to be, at the very least, a gamble. A win at the weekend and a favourable draw in Uefa’s lesser club competition and there would still have been a very great deal to play for, especially after Shamrock Rovers drew for the second time in succession on Friday night. Even now, with a nine-point gap in the league likely to be too much to bridge, there is the Cup and European qualification for next season to aim for.

The club appears though, from a distance at least, to have descended into chaos.

Bill Hulsizer, who succeeded Mike Treacy as chairman at the end of last year, represents the owners from his home in the United States and is the man who must be answered to on a daily basis, although the appointment of Giovagnoli is assumed to have had wider board approval.

The retired businessman came to prominence during the recent negotiations to get the league restarted when he gained a reputation as a sometimes fierce critic of the FAI which, he claimed at one point had “lied to, stolen from, insulted and disrespected,” the club.

There has been talk of internal tensions since and there is certainly a good deal of confusion around the club about the managerial strategy currently being pursued.

Almost all of the club’s senior players, more than a dozen of them, will be out of contract at the end this season and there is no clear sense among the squad of who will be making the decisions about their futures, although football agent Liam Carroll, who represents Chris Shields, Pat Hoban and Sean Gannon is regarded as having become an influential figure.

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