Despite all the debate around who the next Ireland manager should be, Pat Fenlon believes the bigger issue at hand is the overall state of the game in the country.
The legendary League of Ireland manager believes that we need to completely overhaul the system and develop an industry that can provide a platform for football to grow in Ireland.
“There has to be an overall look at the game, the game in this country needs to be changed.” Fenlon said.
“We need to develop it, we need an industry here, we’re qualifying coaches left, right and centre and there are very little jobs for them. We need to go to the powers that be in the government and say ‘how do we make that better’.”
Fenlon looked to the growing success of rugby in Ireland as evidence that things as they currently stand can be improved on.
“Take the rugby example, I know it’s a completely different sport and a different way of looking at things but if you look at what it’s done for the country, even in relation to investment in the game and revenue stream coming into the country when provinces play and the national team plays.
“That’s the selling point, get the government to back the game and help with developing it, and there will be rewards.”
The former Shelbourne manager is adamant that in order to see improvements on the pitch, Irish football needs to start by making improvements from the top of the game right down to the bottom.
“At the end of the day, soccer is the most participated sport in the country, but we have to manage our affairs much better.” Fenlon said.
“We’ve got to be proactive, and be progressive in what we do and how we develop the brand.
“From the top of the game, it needs to be changed, we need to look at how we run the game here. I look at the people who are critical of the game, they are the people that have an interest and that care about Irish football and want to drive it on and make it better.”
Fenlon is firm in his belief that the FAI need more footballing men in their ranks, coaches who have Irish football’s best interests at heart, and there is one man in particular who he can’t believe is not involved in some capacity.
“How Brian Kerr is not involved in some degree I think is a disgrace. Someone who has done so much for football in this country and who really has the best interests of the game at heart.
“I don’t know why he isn’t involved, but it is a shame.”