So for the first time in five years Republic of Ireland are look for a new management team. There is no doubting the Martin O’Neill and his backroom staff brought some memorable times, which included the games against the then World champions Germany, Second round of the Euros (after beating Italy) and beating both Wales and Austria away. We thank them fully for truly memorable games and experiences. However, there is no denying that there was a sharp decline in the both the enthusiasm and atmosphere over the last twelve months. Displays lacking the usual fighting spirit added with no shots on target in the last four games meant that this chapter has reached its end.
There are both familiar and unfamiliar faces being touted as the possible replacements, which include Mick McCarthy, Stephen Kenny and a combination of recently retired former players which includes Robbie Keane, Steven Reid, Lee Carsley and Kenny Cunningham. I would include Chris Hughton, and he would be the best person, but unfortunately this is not the right time for him considering the job he is doing at Brighton.
Been there and done it – both as a player and manager for Ireland. His knowledge of the English championship would surely be beneficial to our squad which at the moment comprises of lower Premier League and Championship clubs. Did his Ipswich team play attractive football? NO. But did they remain in the league despite having a very small budget. YES. This model could well work for Ireland – do we have an abundance of riches in terms of players? NO. But can we compete with the right direction and guidance? YES!
Mentioned along with Mick are his usual stalwart Terry Connor – again massively experienced with the current calibre of players we have in the squad. Also mentioned are Kenny Cunningham and Robbie Keane. Again these are players who have played in the biggest games Irish football has been part of in recent times. Their commitment to the shirt and undeniable talent would surely inspire the current squad. Robbie especially should be able to help a not so flattering forward line on paper and even more so, unlike his namesake, bring a positive attitude and atmosphere in to the camp
4 league titles in 5 years is undeniable. Stephen Kenny is a very good coach. During that time he has lost his star players to other clubs at home and abroad, yet is able to replenish and rejuvenate to continue to dominate the Irish League. This of course culminated in his Dundalk team playing the Europa League group stages – huge for Irish football.
However, there will be a question mark on his ability to step up. This isn’t meant in a derogatory way to the League of Ireland, but to suddenly have a squad of players playing in two of the most competitive leagues in the world – can his current skills/experience translate? On paper he represents a more modern choice – promoting a passing style of play and using youngsters to enhance the squad but whether this can be instilled by Kenny in the current squad is a different question
Lee Carsley + Steven Reid
Strong, Determined, Robust. Three words that can be used to describe both Carsley and Reid – certainly yes when they were playing. However, since retirement both have gone on to work at the top level in a coaching capacity. Both are highly respected amongst the coaching community, yet somehow both are working for England. Without doubt we should be tapping into their knowledge and using this within our set up – whether that is within the first team set up or that of the U21s. Similar to those previously mentioned, they have been there and done it for Ireland. They are part of an England set up producing youth teams that are competing and winning at the highest levels ( but we wont focus too much on that)
All of those mentioned represent a new direction either way and whilst we may not be able to influence or dictate who the next manager – surely there is room for all of the above to fit in?
Whilst the new manager is yet to be known, one thing that we do know for certain is that as fans we will all be behind the team.
Come on you boys in green!