John Delaney is not the man next door

Bray People - - SPORT -

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.

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