Wednesday 19 June 2019

Eamon Dunphy: 'The brightest of spotlights should be shone on John Delaney'

John Delaney and (inset) Eamon Dunphy
John Delaney and (inset) Eamon Dunphy
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Eamon Dunphy has said that the "brightest of spotlights should be shone on John Delaney" following a week of turmoil in Irish football.

Roy Keane's row with Harry Arter and subsequent leaked WhattsApp audio of Stephen Ward talking about that incident has taken up most of the column inches.

Yesterday, a staggering three-minute audio emerged of Ward – who was not present for the Keane/Arter row – describing the incident between, firstly, Keane and Jon Walters and then Keane and Arter.

The whole episode brought into question the unity in the Irish dressing room, an unwelcome talking point following the 4-1 thumping against Wales last Friday.

While O'Neill and Keane's positions have come under scrutiny in the media, Dunphy says the top brass in the FAI should face questions.

Writing in the Irish Daily Star on Monday and Tuesday, Dunphy said he used to think that Delaney was the "best thing that happened the FAI for years".

Dunphy highlighted the mess the organisation was in when Delaney came in as acting CEO following Saipan in 2002.

But, he argues, Irish football "is now in the biggest mess it's been since the early 1970s" - and the "buck stops with John Delaney".

Dunphy noted that Wales seem to have a pyramid system in place with Under 21 manager Robert Page – who also oversees the Under 17s and Under 19s – sitting alongside Ryan Giggs in Cardiff.

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"Ruud Dokter is the FAI's High Performance Director, an equivalent role to that of Page in Wales," wrote Dunphy.

"Who is Dokter? What does he do? How much is he paid?"

Dunphy goes on to question how Brian Kerr – who brought so much success to Ireland's underage set-up – was cast aside following his stint as manager of the senior team.

"Kerr got his shot at the senior team," continued Dunphy.

"It didn't work out and he left in 2005, and his relationship with Delaney was a fractured one at that stage.

"Look where that has left us. Kerr ensured there was a conveyor belt of quality footballers going from the youths to the senior team. But that conveyor belt stopped a long time ago."

Dunphy also criticised the money the management team, and Delaney, earn.

"On Delaney's watch, Ireland have paid way over the odds for mediocrity. If O'Neill and Keane were pushed out the door, the FAI would have to pay out their contracts and then come up with a package for the new management team.

"For a cash-strapped organisation, that is a problem. And the buck stops with the man at the top."

Dunphy added: "Martin O'Neill is paid way over the odds. So is Roy Keane. So is John Delaney."

Dunphy argues that volunteers at grassroots level are working themselves to the bone and the "people at the top in Abbotstown are living in a bubble".

"Those in charge don't want to be challenged. It's a system that revolves all around one man – John Delaney," added Dunphy in The Star.

"It's all about power and patronage, in my opinion."

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