Friday 24 November 2017

Kerr: FAI must not drag heels in search for Trapattoni's successor

Former Irish boss Brian Kerr
Former Irish boss Brian Kerr

Garry Doyle

The former Ireland manager, Brian Kerr, has told the FAI to save face – rather than money – by avoiding yet another long drawn-out process in their search for a new manager.

Having suffered through three winters of discontent in 2002, 2005 and 2007, when the FAI prevaricated over who should replace Mick McCarthy, Kerr and Steve Staunton, the prospect of another prolonged succession race holds little appeal for Irish football's stakeholders.

Not least to Kerr, who gave his blessing to the five men short-listed by John Delaney before urging his former employers to act swiftly.

"I hope to God we don't have another four-month game of cat and mouse," said Kerr (below) at the launch of the SARI festival of football yesterday. "If Martin O'Neill is the candidate they want, and he is interested, they can do a deal soon. He would be an excellent choice because of his enthusiasm, experience and intellect.

"Yet, I wouldn't advocate one man over the other four because I respect them all. None of the men mentioned by John Delaney would make decisions based on watching a few DVDs. They would get their hands dirty.

"You just hope the FAI don't let this drag on too long. If it is a case of doing things slowly because it would save them wages for a six-month period, then that's wrong. If a deal is there to be done, then get it sorted and let him prepare."


Producing a successful team is the primary objective now, though, having witnessed the end of a campaign as well as the Trap era, Kerr's thoughts on the future are mixed. He sees the pool of talent and is uninspired by the view.

And yet, with UEFA increasing the number of finalists at Euro 2016 to 24, he recognises an opportunity.

"Look at our history," said Kerr.

"We've been entering tournaments since 1934 and have finished first on just one occasion. So, second place is what we have come to expect. Yet with 23 qualification spots available for Euro 2016, I'd be hopeful we could make it. Expectations above that are not realistic because Irish players are being squeezed out of the top Premier League clubs.

"Even the team I inherited from Mick (McCarthy) had the likes of Stephen Carr, Steve Finnan, Robbie Keane, Shay Given, John O'Shea and Damien Duff, guys earning their corn at the top-end of the Premier League. The rest of the team were steady Premier League players – all backed up by Roy Keane.

"Now, the majority are in middle-ranking Premier League clubs or operating in the Championship. That's a reality the new manager will have to deal with."

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