In what appears to be almost a determined effort to make themselves look ridiculous as both football people and administrators, the Football Association of Ireland have come up with a "process" for appointing the next manager of the Republic of Ireland that will involve the appointment of an outside three-man committee who will make recommendations to the FAI board who will then make a decision. Just in case the next manager proves not to be successful the three-man committee will be allowed to remain anonymous if they choose to be. In the event of failure, no one could then be said definitively to be responsible.
Part of the fall-out from the unravelling of Steve Staunton's 21-month stewardship was about how the untried former international was given the job of Irish manager in the first place. Fingers have been pointed at the FAI chief executive John Delaney, who then pointed his own at colleagues in the organisation.
During a farcical dismissal of Staunton in Dublin on Monday night-Tuesday morning – a press conference was held at 1am and the message was "mutual consent" – the FAI unveiled their plan for the next appointment and gave no time limit.
Don Givens, the Under-21 coach, will be in charge for the Republic's final European Championship qualifier in Wales on 17 November and the FAI hope to have chosen their "consultants" by then.
The make-up of the outside committee is not certain. "The board will meet in a week to a week-and-a-half to consider who we're going to appoint, and approach to appoint, and they will appoint the next manager of the Association," Delaney said. "Literally, they will come with the individual and we will ratify the appointment. They [the consultants] will come with one name. We will ask them to come with one name. We will then ratify that regardless of any reservations. It will be completely external.
"We probably need about a week-and-a-half to reflect on the key criteria and the type of financial package we can afford. The most important aspect of this is to get people to do the job for us. That is the crucial point."
When asked what criteria the committee men would have to fulfil, Delaney replied: "If I start putting down that criteria, to be fair to me and to the people who are going to do the job, I would be shackling them in terms of what they are about. I am sure that the people who are asked to do the job will be able to do it once they accept it."
Within Ireland the credibility of the FAI, and Delaney in particular, is minimal. This move is guaranteed not to enhance it but resignation does not seem to be on Delaney's radar, in fact he said when justifying the process: "I think it's mature of the Association at this given stage to let a group of people do it. You could argue that they have more contacts, more time, they'll have more vision, you can argue all those sorts of points."
Nothing is certain: Liam Brady, for example, who could be a contender for the manager's job, may also be the sort of figure the FAI are looking to as a consultant. David O'Leary's popularity in Ireland has diminished considerably since he captained the team but his managerial experience is the reason why he is the bookmakers' favourite. O'Leary would not wish to be a committee man but he will also not be chasing the job, though he would welcome an approach.
Others mentioned are John Aldridge and, to heighten the sense of farce, former Rangers manager Graeme Souness. Then, low and behold, Ron Atkinson appeared on Irish radio saying he wants the job.Reuse content