FAI want O'Neill to replace Trapattoni
Keane expresses interest but Derry man favoured as succession race kicks off
THE FAI want Martin O'Neill to take over from Giovanni Trapattoni, and the 61-year-old remains open-minded about an approach to discuss the role.
The FAI's Board of Management are set to meet next week – possibly as early as Wednesday – to agree on the process to replace Trapattoni, who was let go yesterday morning after shaking hands on a €400,000 compensation package.
O'Neill has still received no approach from the FAI, but the Derry native would be willing to talk about the vacancy. It is anticipated that initial contact will be made over the weekend to ascertain his interest. He is not the only man in the frame – there is support for Mick McCarthy within the corridors of the association, but a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Ipswich for free expired in August.
Roy Keane is interested in the job but unlikely to appeal to the FAI and is unsure whether he could work with them, while Brian McDermott and Chris Hughton are under contract at Leeds and Norwich respectively.
There are no such complications with O'Neill, who has been out of work since leaving Sunderland in March.
FAI chief executive John Delaney has indicated that the new manager will be expected to secure qualification for the expanded 24-team European Championships in 2016 and also stressed the need to attract disenchanted fans back to the Aviva Stadium.
"We want an Irish team qualifying for major tournaments, that's what we want, and we want the stadium full. They are simple things that the association wants to deliver and over the next week or so we've got to look at the course and the process as to how we get a manager to achieve both," said Delaney, who was part of the three-man delegation that met Trapattoni and assistant Marco Tardelli in the VIP lounge at Dublin airport on the morning after the defeat in Austria that ended Ireland's World Cup ambitions.
Trapattoni thanked supporters, players, the FAI board and staff in a statement released through the FAI. Tardelli, who flew to London after the decision, was sanguine about reaching the end of the line. "That's life," he said. "We had nearly six years in the job and it was a great time."