Houghton joins task force to pick new Ireland manager

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The Independent Online

The Football Association of Ireland chief executive, John Delaney, has welcomed Ray Houghton as the third member of the three-man committee given the task of selecting Steve Staunton's successor. Delaney also insists that Terry Venables has not been consulted over the vacant manager's job.

Houghton, hero of the famous Euro 88 and World Cup 94 campaigns, joins Ireland Under-21 manager Don Givens and former Arsenal coach Don Howe. The trio will recommend the next Ireland manager and Delaney hopes an appointment will have been made before the friendly with Brazil at Croke Park on 6 February.

"I'm pleased about it. I'm pleased with Don Givens and Don Howe and I'm pleased that Ray has joined that team," Delaney said in Dublin at the official launch of the Football Association of Ireland's new headquarters at the National Sports Campus.

"The guys will go about interviewing whoever is in their plans and their sights and I'm sure they will make progress on that over the coming weeks.

"I am pretty certain in my own mind that they will come back with one name. It's a matter of the chairperson of the committee of three explaining the decision behind the person they are going to recommend and I couldn't see a circumstance where that couldn't be ratified.

"It's preferable for me as chief executive that we would have a manager in place for the Brazil game, that's preferable, but I think everybody understands this time round we have got to get the right appointment and I think everyone understands that."

Delaney was happy to speak out on the speculation that has occurred over the past month since the process began.

"I think there has been a lot of speculation and there also has been a lot of inaccuracies, it has to be accepted, over the last period," he said. "We've tried to go about it quietly and privately.

"There was never an intention to meet anyone down in South Africa and there was never any intention to meet anyone in relation to the vacant manager's job. Terry Venables was never spoken to by the FAI or by myself."

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