Irish Daily Star


Associatio­n is riddled with division — and titles


Derry City v Shamrock Rovers

I LOVE Ruaidhri Higgins.

He is a top, top boss. He is a Professor of football.

But Derry City is not an easy club to manage. Expectatio­ns are huge there. And this game is going to tell us if the Candystrip­es can go from being potential winners to the real deal.

Rovers are back to decent form and cruised past Sligo Rovers. But I think Derry can sneak a win.

JAMES McClean might call the FAI a shambles.

But for me, the FAI stands for Flawed And Inept.

It is a complete and utter fiasco to sack an internatio­nal team manager and then give the recruitmen­t job to people who have no experience of hiring internatio­nal bosses.

I just cannot see how the FAI can pride themselves on anything, when they promised us the search for a new boss would end in ‘early April’.

Today the date is April 19. I have to ask is the FAI asleep on the job?

Because trust me, appointing a manager for the Irish senior internatio­nal men’s team is the easy bit, if you know what you are doing.

The thing that haunted the previous regime under John Delaney was when Delaney insultingl­y called the League of Ireland ‘the problem child’.

But who is the problem now? Because, despite being horribly neglected, the League of Ireland is miraculous­ly thriving.


Now we are awaiting the appointmen­t of a new boss — while all around us, there is own goal after own goal going in at Abbotstown.

Apparently we have been told it is a good idea to appoint an internatio­nal manager without a permanent chief executive at the helm.

You couldn’t make it up!

In my book, the whole culture is simply wrong.

The power everywhere.

It is an organisati­on riddled with division.

A lot of the people there with football experience feel they have been slighted by independen­t people getting parachuted onto their board.

This, supposedly, was to give plays are the organisati­on credibilit­y.

But they have actually made things worse.

All over the world, everyone in football tries to win a title.

Stephen Bradley has won four of them with Shamrock Rovers. But even he didn’t get as big a title as the head honchos at the FAI.

We have had independen­t chairmen, General Secretarie­s, interim chief executives, Presidents. We even once had an executive vice-president.



This is an organisati­on overloaded with too many chiefs to the extent that everyone in the Abbotstown building, where the FAI is based, must be wondering who is the boss.

Because there are more titles in Abbotstown than in Buckingham Palace.

We all love Packie Bonner. He is a legend. He has more than earned the right to be a board member.

However, it has been decades since he lived in this country.

A year ago he was quoted in Celtic View to say: “I’ve been talking to Dermot Desmond a few times, I mentioned that we should have a club over there (in Ireland). We should have a club in the League of Ireland and run the whole thing.”

When I hear Bonner say the words ‘over there’ — is that the perspectiv­e he is bringing to FAI board meetings?

I don’t get what he means by the phrase ‘over there’. Those are not words I can relate to.

I can relate to the brilliant coaches and managers who have revitalise­d football in this country. They don’t need to be feeder clubs.

They are self-sustained and magical in their own way.

Interestin­gly, League of Ireland clubs met with the European Clubs Associatio­n and at this meeting they talked about breaking away and forming their own league.

Let me tell you straight: someone needs to bring an alarm clock into Abbotstown and wake everyone up.

Because people have to stop fighting for power, authority and titles. Instead they need to get the job done.

I want

Tony Keohanes, Marc Canhams, Packie Bonners, and whoever the next chief executive is going to

be, to the start telling us when we are finally going to get a proper TV deal for our League.

It is interestin­g to hear so many people talk about academies.

But I am not sure the FAI realise that their job is to provide a league where profession­al clubs have the facilities to not just provide our best young talent but to give the ever growing member of League of Ireland fanatics the opportunit­y to watch top level football in top level facilities.


When you have McClean calling the FAI a shambles, and most supporters agreeing with the Derry man’s assessment, I think it is time for football people to know who exactly is boss of this new FAI.

It is not time for strangers to get cushy jobs on ‘independen­t’ committees.

It is time for people who are proud to live in Ireland, and who go to games, to start showing leadership.

To be fair to FAI President, Paul Cooke, he is a man who has given a lifetime of commitment to football in Ireland.

But I am just sure he is scratching his head that he is trying to lead an organisati­on that is more divided than ever.

It is time the organisati­on that stands for Flawed And Inept draws a line on the plan and turns into the Fix And Invest associatio­n.

 ?? ?? UNDER PRESSURE: Abbotstown chiefs need a new senior internatio­nal manager; (below) Packie Bonner
UNDER PRESSURE: Abbotstown chiefs need a new senior internatio­nal manager; (below) Packie Bonner
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