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'I wonder has the bitterness become too much for him' - Noel Mooney responds to Brian Kerr's FAI criticism

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FAI General Manager Noel Mooney. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

FAI General Manager Noel Mooney. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

FAI General Manager Noel Mooney. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Noel Mooney has become embroiled in a war of words with Brian Kerr after the interim FAI general manager branded the former Ireland senior boss as “bitter” towards the association.

Speaking on the Lansdowne Roar podcast, Mooney also said that he inherited a "sh*tstorm" when seconded from UEFA in May and insists it’s time to “move on from the John Delaney chapter”.

Once again, the Limerick native – due to finish his stint in six weeks – defended his gushing remarks about Delaney and the FAI at their AGM two years ago.

He explained that he was acting as a "diplomat" for UEFA and wasn’t privy to the goings-on behind the scenes. "I’m not an auditor – not Inspector Morse nor even Coleen Rooney," said Mooney.

The state have suspended funding to the FAI while a series of investigations are ongoing into corporate governance concerns.

Although Eoin Hand has been brought back into the fold by Mooney, it seems Kerr will be remaining outside the tent based on the latest comments.

Kerr had been ostracised under the Delaney regime since he was sacked as senior boss in October 2005.

Attempts over the summer by Mooney to mend fences didn’t go well.

Kerr claimed he was offered a position as a "media watchdog", for the association, after which he requested there be no more contact.

Mooney has denied this as he addressed Kerr's recent comments.

"The first thing I’d say is I’ve got huge admiration for Brian," he said.

"I love listening to him, he has done so much for the League of Ireland and was outstanding with Irish youth teams.

"In my role at UEFA, I’m used to dealing with managers all around the world, top managers of Champions League clubs, and I have never seen anything like a private conversation just taken into the media.

"I was surprised but don’t in a million years want to get into a row with Brian Kerr. I want him to be part of Irish football.

"I’m disappointed that he leaked a private conversation. What he said was nothing like what was intended.

"Did he think we were going to hire in Abbotstown to read the newspapers, watch the television and tell us when someone said something bad about us? It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

"We all would love Brian to be part of Irish football. It is his prerogative if he chooses not to help the strategy of the game.

"People should ask can they play a role in making football better rather than moaning and groaning about everything. That’s easy. You can make a lot of money if you moan loud enough.

"It was like the stuff about me from the Minister Shane Ross. Jesus, they see us an easy target.

"Let’s be honest about it, it’s populist to kick the FAI. It’s frustrating because they’re kicking Irish football. Do they think about that? It’s boring.

"There were a few emails with me saying I’d love to meet Brian for a coffee and see how he could help Irish football. That was basically it.

"I wonder has the bitterness become too much for him and he can’t get out of it.

"That just happens sometimes. I’ve met people who can’t get their head past something. For me, that’s quite sad."

Mooney said he jumped at the chance to help the FAI in their time of need.

He departed as the organisation’s marketing manager in 2011, just as the carnage from Delaney’s flopped premium ticket scheme was forcing cutbacks in all sectors of the game.

In the podcast, he said his intention from the outset was to work with the new directors. The make-up of the new board has still to be finalised, with the four independents still not appointed. Mooney is due to finish his six-month placement next month.

"I came into a shitstorm," he said. "I could see the FAI was in real, real trouble.

"It needed leadership and desperately required money. I need to calm the members and staff. You can’t go in start beating shit of people; you must give them opportunity to express themselves.

"The FAI had a strong leader for many years, arguably too strong.

"We’re now moving away from John Delaney chapter."

The full Podcast is available here: https://www.lansdowneroad.ie/podcast/episode/27f52240/noel-mooney-interview

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