The Champagne Football documentary will be an essential watch for every Irish football fan.
In a week that saw Ireland’s hopes of reaching Euro 2020 end, it’s somewhat fitting that the defeat arrived in Slovakia, a country that saw one of John Delaney’s more highly-publicised moments. It wasn’t champagne that was offered to football fans, but cans.
In October 2010, when Ireland played Slovakia, the former CEO of the FAI paid around €5,000 for drinks for Irish supporters travelling by train between Bratislava and Zilina after the Slovakian organisation had moved the game from country’s capital.
In terms of Delaney’s tenure at the FAI, that surreal story is just one of many.
However, after years of secrecy, Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan’s wonderful book Champagne Football has given Irish football fans an insight into the inner workings of the FAI under Delaney’s tenure.
Over the course of fifteen years, John Delaney ran the FAI as his own personal fiefdom. He had his critics, but his power was never seriously challenged until last year, when Tighe and Rowan published a sequence of stories in the Sunday Times containing damaging revelations about Delaney’s 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 Champagne Football, Tighe and Rowan dig deep into the story of Delaney’s career and of the FAI’s slide into ruin. They show how he surrounded himself with people whose personal loyalty he could count on, and a board that failed to notice that the association’s finances were shot.
Since being released, Champagne Football: The Rise and Fall of John Delaney and the Football Association of Ireland has topped the literary chairs, and it’s already heading for its third print run due to incredible demand.
In terms of a synopsis, it states: “Virgin Media Sport’s Tommy Martin examines the scandals of John Delaney’s time in the FAI. Based on the best-selling book Champagne Football by Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan.”
Take a look at what’s in store when Champagne Football: Inside John Delaney’s FAI airs at 9pm on Tuesday, October 13.
Inside John Delaney's FAI
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) October 8, 2020