Sunday 22 September 2019

'We've regressed badly' - Liam Brady takes aim at John Delaney over Irish football's current woes

Liam Brady (inset) believes Irish football has regressed under John Delaney
Liam Brady (inset) believes Irish football has regressed under John Delaney

Cormac Byrne

Ireland legend Liam Brady has criticised FAI chief executive John Delaney's role in the current state of the Irish soccer team.

Pressure is mounting on manager Martin O'Neill after another underwhelming display in the goalless stalemate with Northern Ireland on Thursday.

His team's failure to score in three consecutive internationals for the first time in six years is at the root of the problem and the will play in League C of the UEFA Nations League after Denmark win over Wales last night confirmed their relegation.

They will go into next month's draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers as third seeds and the prospect of missing out on home advantage at a major tournament is a possibility.

Speaking on The Stand podcast with Eamon Dunphy, Brady criticised Delaney for rewarding O'Neill with a new contract in January after the heavy playoff defeat to the Danes and allowing him to talk to Everton and Stoke over managerial vacancies.

"The figure reported is €1.9m and if it is that, it means that after the Denmark game and three-month hiatus while he was looking for a job in England, he got a huge rise and a two-year contract and Roy Keane was in that package as well," Dunphy said.

"It's going to cost €4m if we are going to lose these guys."

Brady interjected: "You have to look at why that's the case and it comes back to John Delaney, he's the one making these calls, He'll probably turn around and say, 'It's the board' but I think everyone knows that John Delaney is in total control there and he's the one making the calls.

"We've had 15 years of John since 2003 and I think the only progress is that John's career is gone up and up. He's a member of the (UEFA) executive committee but if you look at the Ireland situation, I think we've regressed badly.

"I don't want to go into what Martin O'Neill earns. That's neither here nor there.

"We're not playing well, the enthusiasm for soccer team is on the wane, the GAA are on the up, the Irish rugby team are on the up and we're the poor neighbours and that's happened under John Delaney's watch."

John Giles defended Delaney's record as head of the FAI but did agree that offering O'Neill a new contract was an error.

"I know John Delaney well and a lot of good things have happened under his watch too.

"We wouldn't have the Aviva if John wasn't there, we wouldn't have the Euro (2020) games here if it wasn't for John Delaney.

"I think he made a mistake in January in giving an extension to Martin O'Neill."

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