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'Sometimes the first question is, 'What is your fee?'' - Brady lifts lid on club manager payments

But David Brady believes the fixtures issue is the GAA’s real ‘problem child’.

Alan Brogan, David Brady and Kieran Donaghy at the launch of the 18th Laochra Gael series.
Alan Brogan, David Brady and Kieran Donaghy at the launch of the 18th Laochra Gael series.
Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Updated Feb 20th 2020, 3:30 PM

FORMER MAYO MIDFIELDER David Brady says illegal payments to GAA managers is still rampant, even within the club game.

The GAA’s annual report last week put spending on inter-county teams at €30m in 2019, prompting director general Tom Ryan to suggest spending caps as a way to limit expenditure on preparing teams.

Brady believes reducing the size of backroom teams would help, although he feels the spiralling costs will remain sustainable until revenue begins to fall.

But his main issue is with under-the-counter payments to managers which would continue to fall outside any cap at inter-county level.

“Let’s be straight and honest. What we’re seeing being spent on county teams is not including the managers. So you’re going, ‘We have to cap everything else but the managers are still getting paid?’

“Backroom teams are getting bigger. I don’t necessarily agree that they’re all needed, I think there’s too many people involved in GAA now that are just happy to be seen to be involved, to be part of the backroom team. I think sometimes a little bit of independence should be handed back to the players. Everything is laid on for them now.

“Okay, it’s nice to have everything laid on for you, from meals to gear to food to diets to lifestyle choices and everything else but it all comes at a cost. You know what, it’s sustainable until the revenue starts dropping. But are they going to drop?

“As the man says, the rising tide lifts all boats and from a spending at county board perspective, or a GAA perspective and team perspective, everything seems to be increasing.”

ciaran-whelan-and-david-brady David Brady clashes with Dublin's Ciaran Whelan in the 2006 All-Ireland semi-final. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The 45-year-old has witnessed the issue first hand as he prepares to move “headlong into management” in a year or two when his children are a little older. Through discussions with various clubs, Brady was taken aback with a culture where money seems to be the primary focus.

“But the conversations I’ve had, sometimes the first question is ‘What is your fee? What do you expect?’ At club level.

“I said, ‘Jeez, that’s the first question you ask me!’

“And I’m going, ‘Jesus Christ almighty, what about, ‘Tell me about your ethos, tell me about your structures.’

“And I know in the back of my mind in the conversation he’s thinking, ‘How much is this guy going to cost? He’s talking a serious game’. And I’m going ‘That’s what it is’.”

Brady says those conversations are happening “single day of the week” in clubs around the country 

“They are getting something because that’s the expected (thing) now, that you don’t do things for nothing, but the players are still expected to do it for nothing.”

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But the All-Ireland club winner insists that fixing the fixtures problem should be Croke Park’s main priority.

“I would like to see the fixtures being put ahead over money, that’s from my context, to get the fixtures right. The money will be there. The money will be shared. The money has to be shared, but our focus has to be on fixtures.

“That’s the problem child from the GPA and the GAA context.”

colm-boyle Colm Boyle could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Moving onto Mayo’s fortunes, the Ballina Stephenites clubman is hopeful the “outstanding” Colm Boyle can follow in Andy Moran’s footsteps and rediscover his best form after suffering a serious knee injury last month. 

“He is a massively determined character,” he stated. “I have no doubt Colm Boyle will come back.”

He bemoaned the number of long-term injuries Mayo have picked up in recent seasons and questioned whether players are being rushed back too soon.

“Probably the most long-term injury that I can think of with Dublin is Stephen Cluxton now with his shoulder. There’s been an absolutely monumental amount of players injured from Mayo.

“You’re going right, it’s the mental turmoil of not winning an All-Ireland. Two teams have to lose an All-Ireland final every year. It’s the main players, it’s the consistency, are we asking these players to come back too quick, too repeatedly year in, year out.

“Okay, yes, we are looking for the likes of Cillian O’Connor to carry us on his shoulder at times, but sometimes you need to say, ‘Is a year out the best thing for Cillian O’Connor?’

“It mightn’t be the best thing for me as a manager, it mightn’t be the best thing for Mayo as a whole, but we’ve got to think of the person.

“Because it’s a repetitive list, a conveyor belt of injuries, whether it’s Lee Keegan or Aidan O’Shea or Seamie O’Shea or Tom Parsons or Cillian O’Connor.

“Patrick Durcan has had his injuries and Donie Vaughan has had his injuries, you say to yourself, ‘Where is the common denominator?’ I don’t know are we pushing these players too much and pushing them back too quick?”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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