The Germans have been responsible for a lot of useful inventions over the years with the computer, the MP3 and the smart card all attributed to German creators. In an Irish context though, their invention of the term ‘Schadenfreude’ may be the most applicable.
Schadenfreude can be described as ‘pleasure derived from the misfortune of others’, and Irish people are experts in this field.
We want you to be the best you can be, we hope for the best for everyone, but if you get too big for your own boots, we’ll take great pleasure in your demise.
Bono and Conor McGregor have generally been the poster boys for the theory in Ireland but when news emerged Sunday night that a warrant had been issued by Brazilian police for FAI CEO John Delaney’s passport, Schadenfreude erupted among Irish football fans and journalists.
I'm sure John Delaney will hold a press conference and explain everything
— Dion Fanning (@dionfanning) August 21, 2016
John Delaney. Pat Hickey… Brazil we and our sport are forever in your debt.
— Ewan MacKenna (@EwanMacKenna) August 21, 2016
Imagine John Delaney moving and shaking in a Brazilian prison….sorting extra meal tickets for the loyal footsoldiers in Cellblock F.
— Joe Callaghan (@JoeCallaghan84) August 21, 2016
Apparently, the going rate for bribing Brazilian cops is 5000 euros made payable over five years as a grant
— Dave Hannigan (@daveyhannigan) August 21, 2016
BREAKING: John Delaney secures extra arrest warrants for Irish fans.
— Michael Pidgeon (@Pidge) August 21, 2016
Delaney is the Olympic Council of Ireland’s vice president and is one of six people listed on a warrant that was issued on Saturday by the same Rio de Janiero court that authorised the arrest of Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) President Pat Hickey last week, as well as the detention of Irish man Kevin Mallon on August 5th.
While the warrant for Delaney has nothing to do with Irish football, it hasn’t stopped football fans and journalists alike from taking pleasure from its leader’s inclusion.
The discontent for Delaney in Irish football is palpable. He’s the scapegoat for blame, the whipping boy for misfortune and he’s the figurehead for Irish football as its highly paid Chief Executive, but where does the resentment for Delaney stem from and why is it so strong?
The starting point for most fans usually has nothing to do with the man himself but the salary that he earns.
The Waterford native is paid an annual salary of €360,000 by the FAI. At one stage it was €450,000, over three times the amount of money that the League of Ireland champions receive in prize money from the association.
He’s also previously referred to the League of Ireland as Irish football’s ‘problem child’, yet his association takes credit for its success when some of its former products make the Irish national team.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) June 15, 2016
He’s sang rebel ballads, drank with fans in Poland while Monaghan United were on the verge of extinction, has had a number of League Of Ireland clubs enter liquidation under his watch and accepted a €5 million loan from FIFA in 2010 as compensation for Thierry Henry’s handball which prevented Ireland from qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
For journalists, he’s also proven to be a source of discontentment as he hasn’t held an open press conference as FAI CEO in over two years. Media members are freely invited to FAI events when it comes to charity launches and training sessions, but not when it comes to answering questions regarding the future direction of Irish football.
And it’s not just media members that can’t ask questions, it seems it’s also the FAI’s own delegates, with the 2014, 2015 and 2016 FAI AGMs fielding no questions from the floor or from the press.
As TD Tom Fleming told the Irish Times last year: “A lot of people in the FAI are afraid to talk, afraid their clubs will be punished financially.
“There is a fear element within the soccer community. If the AGMs are run in the way that no questions are asked… people who are keeping the game going are left out from having a say.”
Delaney’s supporters will point to the FAI’s commercial success, the recent success of the national team and bringing events such as the 2011 Europa League final and recent Champions Cup games involving Celtic, Inter Milan and Barcelona to Ireland, but the detractors seemingly far outweigh supporters.
Delaney, along with Hickey and Mallon, will be innocent until proven guilty in Brazil but the sporting public’s response to the former’s involvement in the warrant highlights once again the underlying frustration within the Irish footballing landscape.
Fans, clubs, media members and politicians have all expressed their frustration with Delaney in the past and the warrant has only given fuel to their fire.
The 48-year-old is a divisive figure in Irish sport but Sunday’s news leaves no doubt as to what side of the divide the majority of the Irish football public fall upon.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena