Faroe Islands fans stunned as Brian Kerr decides to move on
BRIAN KERR will not get the chance to lead a team against Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers after taking the decision to walk away from the Faroe Islands when his contract expires next month.
The Dubliner was extremely popular in the Faroes and had brought the team up to fifth seeds for the World Cup draw after a series of fine results during his tenure.
Being drawn against Ireland opened up the possibility of an emotional clash with his former employers. However, Kerr has decided to move on due to the Faroese FA's reluctance to agree with his plans on a long-term vision for improving the game there.
"In terms of moving it on to the next level, I'm not sure that the FSF would have agreed with me on how we needed to push it on and the investment that would be needed to make it to the next level," he said.
"I gave it the best I could and I spent a lot of time away. I'm happy enough that we moved forward in the last three years and we had some very special days."
His decision has stunned the Faroese players and public, who had really taken to the 58-year-old and his assistant Johnny McDonnell during a campaign where they enjoyed a famous victory at home to Ireland's Euro 2012 play-off opponents Estonia.
Defender Alti Gregersen spoke to RTE last night to convey his deep sense of disappointment, stressing that the squad were willing "to die" for the former St Patrick's Athletic manager and Irish youth supremo.
"It's a sad day for Faroese football," he said. "The public was pretty much against the football team when he arrived and that's changed."
Kerr will now begin the process of looking for a new challenge. He is keen to stay in the international football sphere and he will be conscious that a lot of managers will be coming and going at this juncture.
He has previously expressed an interest in taking over as manager of Northern Ireland, but was sceptical about his chances.
Certainly, he is well down the IFA's list. They met in Belfast last night to discuss the selection process and the front-runners are understood to be ex-internationals Iain Dowie and Jim Magilton. The latter is currently assisting Michael O'Neill at Shamrock Rovers and some reports in the North have suggested that he could work as No 2 to Dowie in a new arrangement.