When Ireland played Cyprus recently, myself and the brother were sitting in €70 seats that we hadn’t paid for – they were freebies. I wouldn’t have paid to go. I even resented going for free in the end, it was that bad!
16,000 people did just that and failed to turn up for the game – many were people who’d already stumpted up the cash for tickets. But next time around, they just won’t put up the cash at all, if they feel they’ll have to watch some pathetic display.
In the World Cup campaign coming up, the potential loss to the FAI in terms of revenue would be the 16,000 vacant seats (conservatively) multiplied by the average €70 per ticket, by 5 games, making close to €5.6m in lost revenue. (Okay, that estimate is a guess…it could be worse!)
My point is: it is worth it for them to pay for a big-time manager. With Croke Park available, it is essential that they fill it to capacity. And to do that, they need a credible manager with a track record.
It won’t be O’Leary, because no matter what you think about his managerial qualities (and they are mixed) he would be too much his own man for the FAI to control him. Brady never showed any great qualities when he managed Celtic, and he would be too close to Dunphy and Giles too. Omar Troussier is too outlandish and unpredictable. Hiddinck would be too expensive and has a lucrative job with Russia (or Chelsea, if it happens).
Paul Jewell would fit the bill – he has experience, respect within the football community, and knows the Irish players. I wouldn’t say he’s my favourite for the job – but he’d be closest to ticking all the right boxes.
The latest news on this farce is that the FAI will appoint an expert committee to do the appointment for them. My problem with this is, who is selecting the “experts”? Of course: the same old muppets as usual, Delaney et al. It is a merry go round again.