Maurice Gleeson blasts the current management team of the Republic of Ireland, and the effect their ineptitude is having on the Irish players.
Gone are the days when Irish squad announcements filled fans with excitement. Nowadays they have become nothing more than a confirmation of the fact that we’re just not that good. They are a siren, warning us that an average performance from an average group of ‘international’ players beckons.
However, this is not the fault of the players.
UPDATE: Richie Sadlier has responded, along with Ray Houghton and Stephen Hunt. See the response here.
When Giovanni Trapattoni was finally overthrown as the chief oppressor of entertaining football in Ireland, we believed there was a new dawn. Out of the ashes came Martin O’Neill and the FAI’s old foe, Roy Keane. A new Ireland was born.
Or so it seemed.
Sadly, we were incredibly naive to think that overnight success would be delivered by the new incumbents. As we all know, when a tyrannical power is overthrown, the real challenge starts.
O’Neill’s reign began with a comfortable 3-0 win over Latvia, renewing belief amongst Irish fans that the national team had turned a corner. The inevitable false dawn.
It would take a further five games before the country would taste another victory. Stale performances against teams such as Serbia, Turkey and Costa Rica passed without a whimper.
The French revolutionary Saint-Just put it best:
“To dare: that is the whole secret of revolutions.”
The O’Neill-Keane revolution was over before we even had time to find Gibraltar on a map. Their propensity to employ the same dull tactics as their predecessors, and their inability ‘to dare’ has seen Ireland return to the lifeless, phlegmatic football of the regime of old.
O’Neill’s decision to publicly speak about the apparent lack of talent at his disposal was a disgrace.
“It’s a real concern. In the back of my mind, I thought ‘there must be five, six, seven young lads playing who will maybe break through. But at this minute, I haven’t spotted it. “
The performance in Tbilisi was an insult to the Irish footballing public. Yes, the three points were achieved. And yes, one can argue that Tbilisi is a difficult place to travel to. But the mere fact that Irish football fans are trying to justify a lucky 2-1 win against a team of Georgia’s calibre shows just how far we have fallen.
It wasn’t too long ago that we drew with both Italy and England, nor was it generations ago that we were putting it up to France for a place in the World Cup.
The problem with Irish football isn’t just the lack of talent Mr. O’Neill, it’s the lack of belief in the players from those in charge.
Different dictators, same tyranny.
Maurice Gleeson, Pundit Arena.