John Delaney is not the man next door
WHEN I read about the latest act of P.R. suicide from John Delaney, the immortal words of Freddie Mercury sprang to mind: ‘Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?’
I just couldn’t believe that this individual, the C.E.O. of the F.A.I., the man who is supposed to be in charge of soccer in this country, could be so incompetent.
Let’s put our cards on the table first of all.
This furore all stemmed from the video of Delaney singing Joe McDonnell in the Bath pub following the Republic of Ireland’s victory over the U.S.A.
For those that don’t know, Joe McDonnell was a hunger striker and a member of the I.R.A.
So it’s safe to say it’s not the kind of ballad that such a public figure should be caught singing.
I personally think that if Delaney had been someone more favourable, maybe a Brian O’Driscoll or a Conor McGregor, he would have been dubbed a legend for doing it.
But because it was Mr. Delaney, it was yet another rod to beat him with. And my God did they beat him.
Delaney came out immediately and held his hands up.
His constant use of the word ‘sly’ in reference to the person behind the video gave an insight into a perhaps bitter side of him.
While I firmly believe that people of the celebrity ilk, be they John Delaney or Hector O hEochagáin, are more than entitled to live their own lives, they also need to incorporate a bit of common sense, i.e. not singing rebel songs in a busy Dublin pub.
All this was going on whilst Delaney was on his holliers with his latest partner (another story altogether, it’d make you cringe so hard you’d give yourself a hernia).
During his flight home to Dublin, his legal team suddenly came out fighting and took the bizarre stance that it had not been Delaney in the video at all, despite the fact that the man himself had earlier admitted to the crime.
This only served to ramp up the ridicule and convert it from a joke to a downright farce.
Then came the claims of cyber bullying and what started off as a worrying ember for the F.A.I. had turned into blazing embarrassment.
Brian Cowen was sitting in a pub in Kerry recently when someone sidled up to him and asked did he fancy belting out a few tunes. Cowen politely declined. His reason? ‘F*&*ing YouTube’.
Cowen has long since left office but he still has the common sense to maintain his decorum. Delaney has spouted several times this week that he was just an Irish man singing an Irish song in an Irish pub and he feels there is nothing wrong with it.
Correct, there is nothing wrong with Joe or Josephine Soap letting loose and murdering a few tunes but not when you’re the C.E.O. of the F.A.I.
That’s the bit that seems to escape him as he collects his six-figure salary. He is not the man next door.
I have met Delaney a few times. A lot of people have phone laughs or phone voices; Delaney has an ‘official’ stance.
A stance he takes when it’s time to be serious. The first time I met him, he was at a pitch unveiling in Wicklow alongside Ray Houghton and Jason McAteer.
Now, McAteer is not the sharpest spoon in the drawer and this is well known.
He is better known for that goal against the Netherlands than he is for his eloquence.
But despite this, Delaney couldn’t resist being Jack the Lad and sarcastically inviting McAteer up on stage to do his speech for him.
Delaney probably expected rolling in the aisles. He expected flowers and bras to be hurled in his direction.
But instead he got eerie silence and an awkward ‘no thanks’ from McAteer.
Delaney was too busy trying to be one of the lads instead of being the C.E.O. of this country’s footballing governing body.
He is not C.E.O. material. He’s had his chance and he’s muddled it up, time after time. Fresh blood is required and fast. As Freddie Mercury might almost say, he’s ‘under pressure’.
F.A.I. chief John Delaney made the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again.