We'll reap rewards for biding time on Irish manager – John Delaney
JOHN DELANEY has insisted that the FAI are doing the right thing by taking their time to appoint a replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni.
The association have tasked Ray Houghton and high performance director Ruud Dokter with the job of assessing available candidates and then making recommendations to the board.
Delaney says they will then work out a time frame for bringing in Trapattoni's successor, adding that the decision to appoint Noel King as caretaker manager for the October double-header with Germany and Kazakhstan will provide plenty of time to make the right choice.
As it stands, the next confirmed international after October is the Dublin friendly with Serbia on March 5.
The FAI do have offers on the table for a friendly in November, but there is no guarantee they will play in that window. An offer of a trip to Australia was turned down, while a journey back to Poznan for a date with Euro 2012 hosts Poland is a possibility. They are awaiting further information on other available options before making a decision.
The situation regarding the top job could influence the final call. Delaney is not perturbed by the prospect of a lengthy process, pointing out that the 117-day wait last time around had a happy ending. "We took a lot of time the last time to appoint Trapattoni and it turned out to be a very good appointment for us, particularly over the first two qualification groups he managed us," said Delaney.
"So we've decided to ask Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter, our high performance director from Holland, to go to the market, analyse the market and come back to the board telling us what they think could be a shortlist for the next Ireland manager.
"I think it's important that we get the right man in. I could appoint – or the FAI could appoint – one of 20 people today because there's been lots of applications and lots of interest, but I think it's better that we take our time over the appointment.
"I don't think the time pressure (to make a quick move) was ever there. Our next competitive game of real importance is September in 12 months' time when we play our first game in European Championships qualifying."
The association have been inundated with expressions of interests from a variety of overseas candidates, including Hector Cuper and Walter Zenga.
There has been no approach to the favourite, Martin O'Neill, who is open-minded about talking to the FAI but is also keen on a return to club management.
Delaney was not pressed on the specifics in an interview with RTE, and shied away from putting a deadline on how long it might take.
"We have these games in October, and Noel will manage that," he said. "Noel deserves that. He was technical director of the FAI under Jack Charlton in 1988, he's managed the women's senior team, he's managed the U-21s, he's played League of Ireland, he's managed in League of Ireland.
"In the meantime, Ruud and Ray will check the market out, come back to the FAI board and at that stage we'll appraise the public as to what the time frame will be."
The Waterford man has stressed his confidence that the post will still attract a high calibre of candidate even though there is scepticism about the quality of the current group of players.
"First of all, the qualification for the 2016 European Championships is an easier task, with 24 teams qualifying," he said. "There are good young players there with people like Seamus Coleman, Robbie Brady, Shane Long, James McCarthy, young (Marc) Wilson, Shane Duffy, many, many good young players.
"And on top of that with Denis O'Brien's terrific support of the project, if we so wish we have the ability to pay a salary that brings in a level of interest as well. For a combination of those three reasons, yes the job is attractive."