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FAI must act now in ripe market

NOW wouldn't that solve a problem. All the Venkys need do is slaughter an extra million chickens next week and they would have more than enough to pay Giovanni, Marco and Fausto's chunky salaries.

Hope rose for about a nanosecond when a wild rumour about Trap and an alleged application to Blackburn went up on the web.

Then Owen Coyle got the heave and suddenly the air was full of managers coming and going.

But we know our Trap, and while he feels comfortable with the mostly remote management of Ireland, even he knows he would have to decamp from the splendours of Milan to take on the Blackburn job. And even the Venkys would require that their new manager actually shows up for work on a daily basis and gets to know his players on a personal level.

It's a long time, however, since anyone mentioned Trapattoni for any other job than the one he is doing and perhaps that's a sign of the times.

Trapattoni dismissed the speculation as nothing more than meddlesome agents stirring it but these are men who make their money when managers and players move and they are always on the mooch for circumstances ripe with failure.

It's not too much of a reach to contemplate the possibility that someone, somewhere let it be known that Trap is on the lookout for another gig, or even more simply, that an agent has read the tea leaves and sees a parting of the ways as inevitable whether as a result of German grievous bodily harm or Ireland fans voting with their feet.

The bookies certainly think he's on the way out and that's before a ball is kicked against Joachim Low's team.

It wouldn't be a bad time for Ireland to be managerless. Owen Coyle is available. So are Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane and Brian Kerr.

Compare that to the days after Steve Staunton was sacked and the slowly dawning realisation that Ireland was shopping in a market that included Gerard Houllier -- which isn't to say that any of the four named would be ideal replacements for Trapattoni when the day comes.

Coyle is the only man without baggage. The other three have enough to fill a couple of Antonov heavy lifters.


There's talk that Brian McDermott might fancy the job if a heavy Russian hand relieves him of his position at Reading.

So there would be options and none of those named would cost as much as Trapattoni and his entourage.

Whether any of them would be any good is another question entirely and one which will be debated across the land at some point and, in all likelihood, sooner rather than later.

It is certainly time for the FAI to think the unthinkable and start doing the work to secure a new man quickly if things go badly wrong in the next two games.

Everything Trapattoni has said since Euro 2012 confirms that if he could continue playing the way Ireland played in the qualifying games for South Africa and Poland/Ukraine, he would do that.

He will still try to do that but he has lost players and respect since the summer and Kazakhstan simply underlined the fact that the game has moved on but Trapattoni has not.

Of course Trapattoni could yet pull another rabbit out of his hat by lifting an unlikely three points from the German game and if that happens, a shaped charge won't shift him.

What is certain enough now though is that Marco Tardelli won't be stepping into his gaffer's loafers and there is some solace in that.

It has to be more than a little bit worrying that Tardelli was able to keep a straight face yesterday when he offered the observation Ireland had actually played quite well against Kazakhstan.


This, after all, is Trapattoni's eyes and ears in England talking and the man who Ireland's manager leans on ever more noticeably on the training pitch.

Lately, Tardelli has taken to standing in the back row at press conferences and suddenly firing in a volley of Italian when he feels his boss is under pressure or struggling with a difficult question.

Tardelli had to deal with one himself yesterday when someone asked bluntly why Ireland haven't played well for a long time.

His response was laughable. Apparently, Ireland played well in Astana and Tardelli stuck to his guns even when it was pointed out that with three minutes to go, Kazakhstan, ranked 147 in FIFA's list, were a goal in front and Trapattoni's goose was cooked.

It's a matter of opinion was his reply and of course he's right. But he's also wrong. Ireland were awful against an inferior team and the Brazil 2014 campaign was almost over before it started.