Close sidebar

You’d expect more sympathy from a man who was in Kenny’s shoes…

There aren’t many people who have done more for Irish football than Brian Kerr, and he has largely done it with a smile on his face.

Kerr has an extensive knowledge of Irish football (and football in general), and it comes from a mix of passion and hard work. From schoolboy games, to League of Ireland matches, to the Faroe Islands national team to Ireland teams of all age groups – Kerr does his homework, and he does it well.

His unique vocabulary and good nature has made it so that he is one of the most beloved man in Irish football, and for good reason too.

This is what makes his recent criticisms of Stephen Kenny a little bit out of character, almost to the point it feels personal.

Brian Kerr on Stephen Kenny.

Kerr, who is normally an optimist when talking about football, never goes overboard with his comments on Kenny. While a level-headed approach is wise, and something that is rare in football discourse, Kerr’s negativity towards Kenny often seems a little too harsh.

Before Tuesday night’s game against Lithuania, Kerr went out of his way to imply that Ireland scraped a draw against a weakened Belgium side, and that it was against a weak Belgian defence.

After Troy Parrott’s late winner, Kerr refused to praise Kenny for the win, and instead said that Ireland should be beating a team as poor as Lithuania. When Kenny discussed the offside decisions against his side on Tuesday night, Kerr said that the Ireland manager often “comes up with mad statistics”.

He said: “They were all offside! He said it was a mad statistic, the four offsides, but Stephen sometimes comes up with mad statistics.

“You can’t say ‘If only for the linesman we’d have won 5-0’. They’re bad runs!”

Brian Kerr Stephen Kenny

Brian Kerr on Stephen Kenny

In the past he has made it clear that he wasn’t convinced Kenny should have been given a new contract, and after a decent performance and point against Serbia, he said: “If ever a team got out of jail it was Ireland tonight.”

Kerr is more than entitled to his opinion that Kenny is not at the level an Ireland manager should be at, but you’d think a proper Irish football man, who loves the League of Ireland, would have more sympathy for the Tallaght native who is living his dream and taking charge of his country.

Kenny has introduced a new style of play, brought through young players that never would have gotten a chance otherwise, showed respect towards the League of Ireland, and is now getting results.

Kerr was once in Kenny’s position, and Ireland manager who many felt was unqualified for the job. He didn’t give the best account of himself, and was sacked. Kenny could have been sacked earlier in his reign, but now undefeated in eight including games against Serbia, Portugal and Belgium, it seems it was the right move to keep Kenny in.

For now though, Kerr remains unconvinced, while the rest of the doubters seem to quieten with every fixture.

This is a cookie notice. You can replace this cookie notice easily using the theme options from within your WordPress control panel. It will only appear once, with acceptance of the form stored locally.