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Trap's holding all the aces

ANOTHER day, another dollar. Giovanni Trapattoni moves forward like a small Italian bulldozer, pushing obstacles to one side and when that doesn't work, sweet-talking better than a snake-charmer.

Trapattoni could have had a dozen blazing rows with FAI CEO John Delaney over a new contract but we'll never know. He is a true believer in the omerta code when it comes to his own business and it has served him well.

He spoke of clarity between the two sides in the matter of his contract and told us that a meeting of minds on a new deal is a "formality".

When asked about the key players, he was happy to name-check the FAI's benefactor Denis O'Brien and even rowed in with a bit of PR for 3 main man, Robert Finnegan.

Working the room comes as easily as football management and it will be a treat indeed to watch him in action if negotiations become sticky at any stage.

It is somewhat odd, however, that both sides were not in a position to announce a new deal in the immediate aftermath of qualification against Estonia on Tuesday night.

The prudent route to take for both the FAI and Trapattoni would have been to agree the outlines of a deal, conditional on qualification and then announce the glad tidings to a nation more than happy to accept news of another huge salary from a man who has done his bit to make life worth living in this raddled nation of ours.

Trapattoni was unable to put a timetable on the announcement of an agreement and Delaney also long-fingered the issue.

Presumably, then, there is still work to do to recreate the triangle which delivered Trapattoni in the first place.

As of now, Trapattoni is behaving like an Ireland manager with a plan for the next nine months at least and spoke at some length about the issues which must be dealt with to make sure his team travels to Poland and the Ukraine with the best possible preparation behind them.

This is no small matter as we know only too well. The core problem before World Cup 2002 was the logistical cock-up which pushed Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy to the ragged edge.

But it is almost impossible to imagine that Trapattoni would ever allow something like that to happen again.

He is already talking about a number of possible locations for a pre-tournament training camp and he also took control of planning the series of warm-up games he wants to play before Euro 2012.

His assertion that some of the games would be played near or perhaps on the way to a training base, however, must be viewed through the filter of the FAI's ongoing need to service the Lansdowne Road redevelopment debt.

Full house signs are at a premium and the FAI will have no better chance to cash in than the weeks before the Euro 2012 finals when hype will rise towards a climax and wallets will be loosened.

Ideally, Trapattoni should be the only voice when it comes to making such decisions but the real world intrudes and he may have to compromise. He must be the sole arbiter, however, when it comes to the choice of a team base in Poland or the Ukraine depending on the draw on December 2 in Kiev.

The most likely option is the route taken by England. Fabio Capello has decided to spend the duration of his stay at the finals in Krakow and it would seem like a logical option to take given the big distances between some of the venues.

From tip to tip, the geographical spread is at it's most dramatic between Poznan and Donetsk measuring well over a thousand miles and promises from the Ukrainian Government that they will have six high-speed trains on tap to whisk supporters around what is a huge land area seem highly optimistic.

More likely is giant airlift in the days before Ireland's three group fixtures and if Trapattoni's luck holds and the team is still involved after that, it's down to the Credit Union and blind faith.

Air travel is the only logical option for Trapattoni and his team, however and once opponents and venues are confirmed, he would be wise to take a personal interest in everything from the location of a training base to the suntan lotion. As he always says himself, small details can kill a football team if they are not pursued and mastered relentlessly.

He will also continue to strive for high standards within his squad and even on the day after his players delivered Euro 2012 qualification, he took a moment to send a message to some unnamed sinners.

Trapattoni believes that "90%" of the squad now obey the house rules but clearly, there are some players who do not.

It is unclear whether Trapattoni is talking about players in his current squad or some fringe men who have been in and out over the last few years and hopefully, we will never know.

Any player who decides that he knows better than Trapattoni is either stupid beyond belief or naive to the point of childishness.

His word is law now and for the first time in the history of the Ireland senior football team, a veil of temperance will be drawn over the squad.

He is a real miracle worker if he can pull that one off.


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