Saturday 20 January 2018

John Delaney: 'Martin O'Neill turned down Premiership clubs to take Ireland manager's job'

John Delaney
John Delaney

Martin O’Neill turned down “Premiership jobs” to take the Ireland job, FAI Chief Executive John Delaney has said.

Delaney was speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk this morning where he confirmed the appointment. Although contracts have not been signed yet, Delaney said that he cannot see any impediments to the deal being struck.

“The documents have to be signed yet but there is nothing in principle that is an impediment to them signing. We have been at detailed discussions with Martin and Roy for a while. I don’t see any impediment. I hope on Saturday we will unveil them.”

Delaney revealed it was O’Neill’s decision to bring in Keane.

 “It was Martin’s decision to bring in Roy. Whoever he wanted was his decision. He asked what the associations view would be and I said it would be no problem. He will explain his system on Saturday. He will explain how he expects the dynamic to work.

“The Roy Keane I met last week impressed me. Please God with this appointment we will make Irish football successful again.

When quizzed about his own relationship with Keane, Delaney sought to draw a line under past controversies.

“Anything Roy or I would have said to each other now is irrelevant. Last week we met twice and it was all about the future. The past is in the past. Anything that happened in the past is in the past.

“We discussed the past for about 30 seconds. It was all about the future. We talked how two great icons of Irish football can work for the future.”

O'Neill was identified as the FAI's primary choice within days of Trapattoni's departure following the defeats by Sweden and Austria which effectively ended Ireland's hopes of making it to next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

Delaney was asked about his relationship with Keane and sought to draw a line under his own relationship with Keane.

 Delaney also thanked Denis O’Brien for his continued financial support of the Irish management team and said Dermot Desmond’s input was “essential”. However, he refused to clarify what O'Neill and Keane were being paid.

“Whatever figures are in the media, let them stay in the media,” he said.

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