Friday 28 July 2017

Stan deserves praise not scorn

STEVE STAUNTON was one of Ireland's greatest footballers, yet his name seems to evoke reflex denigration in light of his troubled spell as an international manager.

This isn't simply wrong, it is unforgivable. Staunton played more than a hundred times for his country, including at three World Cup final tournaments, earning broad renown for his leadership of a shaken squad after the infamous Saipan eruption in 2002.

Yet his subsequent time as Ireland manager unravelled quickly, the health issues of his assistant – Bobby Robson – undoubtedly proving a major contributory factor.

Now Staunton's legacy seems framed exclusively by that failure. He isn't a naturally accomplished communicator, as his interview on television reaffirmed this week. Yet, neither is he some kind of national pariah.

In a country awash with scoundrels, it is time surely to decommission the hostility towards 'Stan'.

Irish Independent

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