'Perfect fit' Croly not a risk for Rovers chief
IN Tallaght, Jonathan Roche, the Shamrock Rovers chairman, expressed the belief that his promising new boy will graduate into the delivery man.
Having stuck his neck out with the brave, and most likely inspired, appointment of Trevor Croly as the club's new manager, Roche is risking his reputation on a rookie whose sole experience in the coaching game to date has been as an assistant.
Yet it seems more of an astute decision than calculated risk.
"Trevor knows the club inside out," says Roche.
"He was here when we won leagues. His knowledge is considerable. He's a perfect fit."
As he strode through the lobby of the Maldron Hotel yesterday, the new Rovers manager was perfectly fitted into a smart, grey suit, well groomed, you could say, for the challenge ahead.
And he hasn't wasted time getting down to work. By last night, a shortlist of potential signings were being sifted through and spoken to.
From St Pat's, James Chambers, Ian Bermingham and Chris Forrester are all on the new manager's radar.
Sligo's Jason McGuinness, Gary Rogers and Mark Quigley are targets, so too Eamon Zayed, the former Derry City striker, who has just returned home from a spell in Iran. Waterford's Sean Maguire completes the wish-list.
"The sooner we get men in, the better," says Croly. "That way we can influence them, talk to them about our pre-season plans and about their close-season itinerary. For me, next season has already begun."
As his tenure began with a press conference that focused as much on his managerial inexperience as his coaching pedigree, Croly spoke calmly and confidently about his readiness for the challenge.
After all, it's nine years since his coaching career began -- at the now defunct Kildare County -- and since then, he has won the league and Setanta Cup with the Hoops, and collected FAI Cup runners-up medals with Longford Town and St Pat's.
"I'm ready for this," he says. "The time I have put in to being here has been phenomenal and the amount needed to stay here will take the same again. I'm well equipped."
He will need to be. The Shamrock Rovers supporters are notoriously impatient when things go wrong, although Roche, who insists he is close to agreeing a financial settlement with Croly's predecessor, Stephen Kenny, pointed out that in seven years of his stewardship, Kenny was the only manager who did not see out the full term of his contract.
"I don't want to speak about anything that happened here last season," says Croly, "because you could say something that could accidentally appear derogatory to Stephen, who I have a lot of respect for. I'm not worried about pressure or expectations. This is a great job to have and the plan is to build a team that can win games, playing football in the correct manner."
That was what he achieved at St Pat's -- where, in tandem with Liam Buckley -- an attractive side ended up flirting with success without actually embracing it.
Just three days ago, Croly was a Pat's employee, emotionally pained by the side's FAI Cup final defeat.
Yet he insists his redeployment from Inchicore to Tallaght had nothing to do with the Saints' loss to Derry City.
"The result came down to Derry taking advantage of their chances," he said.
"From our perspective, we planned the week thoroughly. We were all geared up for victory and were all devastated afterwards, individually and collectively, that we lost.
"There wasn't a strain between myself and Liam Buckley, although I'm sure it wouldn't have been easy for him knowing that I was possibly coming to Shamrock Rovers."