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There was a very strong reaction to Champagne Football which showed John Delaney’s scandals

Champagne Football

An insight into the FAI under John Delaney.

Irish football supporters have an awful lot to thank Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan for after their investigative journalism helped uncover the financial details of John Delaney’s tenure in charge of the FAI.

As the synopsis of their wonderful book Champagne Football states: “Over the course of fifteen years, John Delaney ran the Football Association of Ireland as his own personal fiefdom. He had his critics, but his power was never seriously challenged until last year, when Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan published a sequence of stories in the Sunday Times containing damaging revelations about his personal compensation and the parlous financial situation of the FAI.

“Delaney’s reputation as a great financial manager was left in tatters. He resigned under pressure, and the FAI was left hoping for a massive bail-out from the Irish taxpayer.”

In the book, Tighe and Rowan dig deep into the story of Delaney’s career and of the FAI’s descent into financial ruin but in the TV special that was aired on Virgin Media, viewers were given an in-depth look at Delaney’s rise to power in the FAI.

In the aftermath of Saipan, Tighe discussed how Delaney willing made himself available to talk to the press following the fallout of the Roy Keane saga. After becoming the focus of attention, Delaney’s ascent within the organisation continued.

Throughout the documentary, Delaney’s role in the Eircom Park saga was discussed, as was his decision to sack Brian Kerr and replace him with the “world-class” management team of Steve Staunton and Bobby Robson.

Aside from this, Giovanni Trapattoni’s tenure, the ‘Team 33′ saga following Ireland’s World Cup heartache against France, the โ‚ฌ5m payout, and much more is discussed.

Later in the documentary, Tighe and Tommy Martin chat about Delaney’s behaviour at Euro 2012 when he lost his shoes on a night out in Sopot, the financial issues that arose following the rebuilding of the Aviva Stadium, his tumultuous history with journalists, and his ultimate downfall following the Sunday Times’ investigation.

It’s fair to say that Irish football supporters had a fair few opinions about the events that were documented.


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