Sport Soccer

Thursday 23 February 2017

Delaney still has faith in Trap

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

JOHN DELANEY last night acknowledged that Giovanni Trapattoni's style of football might have contributed to small crowds at the Aviva Stadium, but stressed his belief that the Italian will secure qualification for Euro 2012.

That would be enough to secure the Italian a new contract, although the Waterford man brushed away questions about Trapattoni's future, saying it was a board matter.

Delaney was speaking as part of a wide-ranging radio interview on 'Newstalk' where he also turned the airwaves blue, and launched a strong defence of his €400,000-a-year salary, claiming he has turned down other jobs worth more.

Trapattoni's €1.7m a year is the FAI's immediate priority.

His contract expires when Ireland's interest in next summer's finals ends.

"It's up to the association to make a decision about whether we keep him or not," said Delaney. "If we think otherwise, there'll be a parting of ways. That's a decision that hasn't been made at board level yet.

"I'm more interested in the Andorra and Armenia game and seeing if we can make the play-offs or win the group.

"I think there's no doubt that Giovanni has improved things. We were a third seed going into the group, and we're second now. I believe, with Trapattoni, that if we got to a play-off, we'll qualify. We have a great chance."

However, Trapattoni's favoured system has proved a turn-off for supporters and has been put forward as one of the reasons for the FAI's inability to fill the new Aviva Stadium.

Delaney also cited the recession and did accept that the FAI had made mistakes in their exorbitant corporate pricing structure. Nevertheless, when it was directly put to him that the quality of football could be an issue, the FAI CEO added: "The style of play isn't the most attractive to watch, but if you love your country, you come and watch your team play.

"If we're successful, I think the country will come with it. Do you want to see us beaten 4-3 at home to Slovakia, or get a nil-all draw that helps us qualify?"

Delaney also indicated that he wouldn't be advising the manager on the team's approach.

"I once told Mick McCarthy that the day I pick the team, and you do the FAI books, we're f***ed," he joked.

The tone was less jovial when discussion turned to Delaney's pay packet. He earns twice as much as the Taoiseach, yet indicated that he could be making better money elsewhere.

"It does come up a lot," he said, "I accept I'm well paid. It was a contract the FAI offered me at the time. I've taken a paycut of €50,000 and if I have to do it again, I'll do it again."

Irish Independent

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