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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

Kerr calls for spotlight to be shone on FAI and Delaney after 'disaster' two years

Brian Kerr says he would be interested in the Ireland role but believes it exceedingly unlikely that he’ll be fielding a call from John Delaney or the FAI.

Brian Kerr Kerr believes recent negativity and controversies had begun to take their toll on Martin O'Neill Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND MANAGER Brian Kerr believes the FAI should face scrutiny over their decision earlier this year to extend the contracts of the now-departing managerial setup, particularly in light of Martin O’Neill’s courting employment in England following Ireland’s play-off anihilation by Denmark.

Kerr earmarked Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny and the out-of-work Mick McCarthy as the most likely candidates for the vacant role, and said that while he could be tempted back into the position himself, he doesn’t believe it remotely likely that he’ll be approached.

Speaking to Virgin Media News, the 65-year-old said that O’Neill and Keane’s departure made sense following a 2018 in which Ireland have won a solitary game from nine, slumping to relegation from the second tier of the Uefa Nations League.

“We must remember that the other night, at the game in Aarhus, there were banners out complaining about John Delaney, about Martin O’Neill,” said Kerr. “There were songs being sung during the game reflecting on the leadership of the FAI and the management of the team.

In truth, while we had some very good days under Martin and Roy, there’s been too much controversy in recent times; too much dreadful football. The quality of the football has led to their demise — not just results.

“I mean, we’ve only won one game in nine this year, but the matches… We’ve had four matches without a goal, three nil-all draws.

The game with Northern Ireland, I thought, really put a spotlight on things, because Northern Ireland don’t have any better players than we have to pick from, and yet they were far superior in the game and should have won the match convincingly.

“It was a small crowd, and I think that’s what spooked the FAI into this reaction.

But really, the spotlight should be on the board of management of the FAI and the leader of the FAI into why they renewed Roy and Martin’s contract in January after Martin had made his intentions clear to try and get two jobs in English football — Stoke City and Everton.

“And yet”, Kerr continued, “they renewed his contract with vast amounts of money, and they [O'Neill and Keane] haven’t been doing a very good job at all. Things have just gone from bad to worse.

“The football, as I’ve said, has been dreadful. The atmosphere around the team has been very poor. We’ve had the controversies of Roy’s row with Harry Arter, the whole issue of Declan Rice — whether he’s going to play for us or not play for us.

“I think it might have just worn Martin down. I thought in his interview on Monday night he looked drained and he looked upset. And although he talked positively about the future of the young players, I think he himself felt his time was probably up. He was no longer inspiring the players to the type of performances that Irish supporters wanted to see.”

Stephen Kenny with Brian Kerr 16/9/2017 The former Ireland manager believes Stephen Kenny would be a suitable candidate for the vacant position, as would Mick McCarthy Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kerr described Stephen Kenny and Mick McCarthy as “very strong” candidates who “would be acceptable to most people who love Irish football”, adding that “other people will emerge” as potential successors to O’Neill.

As for whether he might be tempted back himself, the Drimnagh man added: “I would, but I think the chances of me being asked back are as likely that you [presenter Geraldine Lynagh] might get asked. So, I don’t think my chances would be very good.”

Kerr also reiterated that “the spotlight should be shone on the board and on the chief executive into their decision-making over the last two years, which I feel has been a disaster.”

A petition on calling for John Delaney to step away from his position as FAI chief executive has received over 4,000 signatures inside two days.

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O’Neill and Keane part company with the FAI ‘by mutual agreement’

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