Sunday 21 January 2018

I'm entitled to the odd night out too -- Delaney

John Delaney
John Delaney
John Delaney with Dion Fanning: 'Anyone who thinks that I would have lost my vision or my drive is misplaced because there's not a moment of my day that I'm not thinking of how we can better Irish football, not a moment of my day.'


John Delaney says he takes "a grave offence" at criticism of his behaviour during Ireland's dismal European Championships, insisting that he was "entitled" to a night out.

In a wide-ranging interview in the Sunday Independent, the FAI's chief executive refused to answer other questions about his socialising in Sopot, complaining that the association's good work at the tournament, at which Ireland failed to claim a single point, was being overlooked while his night-time behaviour was being highlighted. "I think that's something I'm entitled to do on the odd occasion when I'm there," he said.

He pointed out that the tournament had been a success from an administrative point of view.

"We've organised a tournament that was pretty faultless administratively and that's the key role and that's what we've achieved," he said.

He said he would discuss his socialising in Sopot, which has resulted in several unflattering pictures and videos appearing on Twitter and YouTube, with the FAI board of management if requested but insisted nobody had asked any questions over his behaviour. Instead he defended the administrative success of the FAI over the month.

"Every morning we had a meeting at 9.0am when we were away in Montecatini, in Hungary and in Poland. We did our stuff really well. I met with Robbie Keane and [Giovanni] Trapattoni every three or four days and we went through all the issues.

"We worked very, very hard. And if I had a night out, with family, my sister was over there, my brother-in-law and some friends, I think that's something I'm entitled to do on the odd occasion when I'm there."

He rejected the suggestion that the footage of him had damaged the reputation of him or the association, insisting that, 10 years on from Saipan, ensuring there was no repeat of that debacle was the objective of the FAI and one which they achieved.

Delaney has been supported by the Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni who, when asked about the chief-executive's "over-indulging", defended him by saying that drink was part of Irish culture.

"In England and Ireland, this is habit," Trapattoni said. "Sometimes when I'm surprised by some behaviour, I'm told 'we are Irish' or 'we are English'. It's difficult to understand but it is the habit of the country and it's not easy to change the habit of the people. It's a cultural thing. We have the same problem sometimes with the players."

Trapattoni has received Delaney's backing too, although he said that "mistakes were made" but backed the manager to respond to them.

"I think he accepts that mistakes were made. He accepts that. We will sit down and review all aspects of the tournament, including the football side. Like any good manager, and he's proved that over a long period of time, he'll learn from the Euros."

Delaney said there were absolutely no circumstances under which he would consider dismissing the manager and refused to speculate about what would happen if Ireland lost their opening matches in the World Cup qualifiers in the autumn.

He insisted there was no greater threat of redundancies within the FAI after the failure to achieve any of the financial incentives in Poland that came with points or finishing third in the group. He refused to rule out further redundancies in the association, saying, "like any business, we're all looking at our cost base".

Delaney also explained the truth behind the story that he ended up with his shoes being stolen after one night out in Sopot.

"I'm coming home, two hundred lads see me, they lift me up and they carry me up and lift me head-high to my hotel and they sing 'Shoes off for the Boys in Green'. And they handed me my shoes back and they handed me my socks back. Simple as that."

Sunday Indo Sport

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