Wednesday 13 December 2017

Kerr shows Trap no mercy despite suffering similar trials and tribulations

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

BRIAN Kerr's national media profile was in full flow on Tuesday as he spent the day highlighting his objections to the way Giovanni Trapattoni does his job.

Dubliner Kerr, Irish team boss from 2003-2005, and former manager of the Faroe Islands, has brought his renowned football expertise to a role as a media pundit.

In that mode, he is forthright, direct and uncompromising -- but as Trapattoni remains under pressure, despite the FAI vote of confidence, he definitely won't have Kerr on his Christmas card list.

It may not matter much to Trap, who can rest safely out of the firing line at his home in Milan for another few weeks, but the reality is that there is no brotherly love among the Irish manager fraternity.

Kerr (right) knows first hand what life is like for the national team boss when results and performances are not up to the required level.

Towards the end of his time in charge, Kerr, as had happened previous managers Mick McCarthy Jack Charlton, Eoin Hand and John Giles, fell right out of favour with the soccer public and pundits.

For Hand and Kerr, it was doubly difficult, because they lived in Ireland and their friends and families were directly affected by the headlines.

That's hurtful, but when you carry the hopes and expectations of a passionate soccer following, the ending of the affair is always messy and discordant.

Now the wheel has turned as Kerr is one of the highest-profile critics of Trap.

Tuesday was particularly busy. First, Kerr gave his views in a morning newspaper column. Later he was interviewed on the Pat Kenny radio show and then on Sky TV in the evening. Just to round the night off, he appeared on 'Prime Time' discussing the situation with Miriam O'Callaghan.

Kerr's theme of negatives about Trapattoni was consistent: communication difficulties between manager and players, and manager and media; failure to do the graft of getting out to watch matches in England and Ireland, and the number of fallouts between players and manager.

That said, Brian managed to avoid directly saying to Pat and Miriam that 'Trap must go.'

However, when he weighs up Trapattoni, he consistently finds fault.

Football and media being inextricably intertwined, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. Poachers turn into gamekeepers all the time.

I remember Liam Brady brushing past reporters after a game in the 1970s; John Giles had a difficult relationship with the media when he was manager and Hand, McCarthy and Charlton had arguments with members of the press in their day.

Once out of the direct firing line, all of them availed of offers to give their insights on the game.

Kerr, a font of knowledge on players and team formations, has responded to requests for interviews and given honest answers, but he clearly doesn't have much time for Trapattoni or the way he goes about the job.

Yesterday, Kerr accused the manager of "arrogance before logic," of having too many "incidents with disgruntled players," and said Trapattoni was "not making informed decisions and until he does change his approach, it will continue to spiral out of control."

On another occasion, he has criticised Trapattoni's communication skills, saying "communication levels from manager to players, manager to the media and manager to the public have become farcical."

Trap would find that a bit rich, considering that towards the end of his reign, Kerr had issues with communicating to the media, because he felt the time taken in interviews could be put to better use working with his players. The Italian might also permit himself a wry smile at Kerr's suggestion that he didn't set out his team and players to the best effect for the Germany match.

However, in a previous column, Kerr spoke of his own failed attempt to change an Irish system.

It was a friendly against Italy in August 2005 and Kerr had been hatching an idea of altering the Ireland formation to an attacking 4-3-3.

It had to be abandoned at half-time and Kerr admitted: "Obviously I failed to communicate my vision with the necessary clarity to my midfield trio."

There's no mistaking Kerr's clarity on Signor Trapattoni, but the old boy just turns a deaf ear and will carry on regardless.

Irish Independent

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