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Irish International Soccer in Decline
The FAI are about as capable of directing the interests of Irish international football as Eamonn Dunphy is of keeping quiet.
The appointment by the FAI of Steve Staunton as manager of the Republic of Ireland international football team has once again demonstrated the capability of those who walk the corridors of Merrion Square to professionally handle the responsibilities necessary for an international football team to progress on the international or world stage.
Let us be openly straight and honest about this current situation, the FAI are about as capable of directing the interests of Irish international football as Eamonn Dunphy is of keeping quiet and that is by no means of any disrespect to Eamonn Dunphy. Time and time again the FAI have made one debacle after another, as one crisis runs immediately into another and Irish soccer, be it at a national or international level, is once again placed under the microscope and seen for what it really is.
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The Charlton days gave us a belief that soccer was of the people and out of that belief the FAI sang all the way to the bank. What we now find is that the FAI have consistently time after time made controversial appointments and decisions without any professional standard of reasoning attached to its decisions. It is time the whole business of international football was taken out of the hands of the FAI in order to allow them to concentrate on the progression of junior and intermediate soccer in Ireland. When the association can prove to itself, the professional football players who wear their countries colours and the supporters who spend vast sums of money following their team, that they are ready to act as the representative body of Irish soccer, then and only then should the FAI be considered in having any association with international football.
The merging of the FAI and IFA would possibly lay to rest the public perception that the FAI is an association of people with personal vested interests over the interests of soccer at all levels throughout the country. The merging would allow a greater pool of players to be made available for selection and would give the international team a better chance of competing in major soccer tournaments. Most importantly it would help break down the barriers that have caused so much division in Northern Ireland for far too long. It would possibly find no support within Merrion Square as the power of the merry men is diluted by those coming onto the board from a foreign state.
Look at it as simply as this, if a plumber went into an operating theatre and tried to tell the surgeon how to conduct an operation what do you think the surgeon would say or think about the situation? Once again just like the surgeon in the operating theatre the FAI try to secure the services of top class professional players to play under their commercial banner that is packaged as soccer, but support those services with a yellow pack money scrimping attitude. Why should players who play every week in the English premiership or First Division play on a team that has been provided with a yellow pack backup and support service by an association whose coffers will swell should that team show any progress. Roy Keane exposed the sham that is the FAI and it is the FAI and only the FAI who could appoint an individual, who despite all his enthusiasm in working for success of Irish soccer, is in reality currently not at an international football managerial stage to take on the task required of him.
I feel sorry for Steve Staunton for he is a nice guy with the interest of Irish soccer and its fans at heart, and itís the shame of the FAI to have even considered appointing Steve at this stage in his football career. If their thoughts were for the building of a new squad for the future then the most logical decision would have been to either appoint an experienced manager or retain Brian Kerr as the Irish person capable of doing such a task. Letís us not forget that Brian Kerrís record as an international manager at this level is indeed very impressive. Luck did not go his way, but there again luck does not go the right way for some of the most successful teams in world soccer. Kerr was not given enough time to build a team for the future, just as Steve Staunton will be shown the same door when the big heads in FAI headquarters see the bank account remain the same and they come out with another Irish style lame duck excuse and apology for the decision they had to take ď in the interest of Irish soccerĒ.
The final decision will, in the long run prove to be the most costliest decision they have ever taken and will result in the association in the future (if they are still around) deciding to build a new stadium beyond the boundaries of the city where they can expand and grow their facilities in response to an ever growing population combined with their ever demanding need to provide all the services in one location, necessary to cater for such huge numbers of people converging into one area. Look at the mayhem and inconvenience that surrounds Croke Park every time a major event takes place. Look at how one section of the city has to come to a halt and how that halts ripple to every other part of the city. Our road infrastructure is not capable of handling or supporting either the vast numbers of vehicles converging on the city or the numbers of people congregating into one area. It is not fair on the people who reside in the immediate areas and it is definitely not fair on those who just need to commute or walk either for business or pleasure within our city. The new Lansdowne Road stadium will only add to the inconvenience to everybody, including the commuting fans as they clammer for available parking spaces or public transport facilities surrounding the stadium.