Sunday 16 June 2019

John Aldridge feels Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane had to go after losing the support of the Irish faithful

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane have left their roles with the Republic of Ireland
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane have left their roles with the Republic of Ireland
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Ireland striker John Aldridge believes Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane had lost the support of the Irish sporting public, after it was the confirmed the duo have resigned from their roles leading the Republic of Ireland.

A dour 0-0 draw in Denmark on Monday night brought down the curtain on a disastrous 12 months for O'Neill and Keane and it proved to be the final straw for the management duo, with their team managing just four shots on target and failing to score in their last four matches.

Now Aldridge has suggested O'Neill's era as Ireland boss had run to a natural conclusion, as he wrote in his Herald column.

"I remember Jack Charlton telling me that every manager has a lifespan and will eventually reach a point where their time is up in a job and that is where it got to with Martin and Roy in the Ireland set-up," said Aldridge.

"Football management is a cruel business and when the tide turns against you, it doesn't matter how successful you have been over the course of your career as the wolves start to circle when they smell blood.

"It was sad to sit through the 90 minutes in Denmark on Monday night and you could say the same about most of our matches in 2018.

"If we were offering up some kind of attacking threat and keeping it tight at the back, the criticism flowing the way of Martin and his assistant Roy Keane would not be so potent, yet it's hard to get away from the reality that this management team seem to have lost the popular support of the Irish public."

While Aldridge accepts O'Neill has a tough job with a squad of Ireland players lacking top level Premier League quality, he argues recent performances have not been acceptable.

"It's fair to say Ireland don't have the players to compete at the very highest levels of international football at this moment, but that does not mean we cannot have a plan and a method to try and get results and play with a little bit of invention," he added.

"We are not expecting these Ireland players to pass teams off the park or produce consistent results against the best teams in the world, but we can demand a lot more than we have seen of late and Martin and Roy do not need me to tell them that.

"All we want is to try and qualify for tournaments and have a bit of craic when we get there, but I looked at the fans who travelled to Denmark this week to watch a team that failed to produce a single shot on goal in the match and it must have drained their enthusiasm to go to all that trouble and expense to follow the team in their next away game.

"Something has not looked right in the Ireland set-up and we have heard all about the spats between players and the management and disagreements over the way we are playing, which adds to the suspicion that there is discontent in the camp.

"Our lack of confidence on the ball and inability to string passes together is alarming and even though a lot of people have questioned the huge salary O'Neill and Keane are earning, this issue should not be the focus of our attention.

"If this management duo were producing an Ireland team playing with spirit and a little bit of invention, no one would question their salary, but it's just not happening at the moment and there needs to be a transformation in fortunes very soon.

"Martin and Roy will know that big decisions will need to be made over their futures unless we see marked improvement in Ireland's performances because however big a name you might have and however successful you have been in the past, football is a results and performance business that deals with the here and now."

Online Editors

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