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FAI chief cxecutive, John Delaney.
FAI chief cxecutive, John Delaney.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Banners, tickets and more - John Delaney holds 'clear-the-air' talks with Irish supporter groups

There’s ‘still plenty of work to do but a real desire was shown from all to get back on track’ according to one fans group.
Dec 8th 2018, 1:06 PM 27,923 53

FAI CHIEF JOHN Delaney says he had nothing to do with the confiscation of flags protesting his position within Irish football’s governing body and admits mistakes have been made securing tickets for travelling fans.

Delaney met with a number of influential supporter groups on Thursday night in what were described as positive talks by one fans group.

The Irish Sun report that the Association chief asked them to ‘draw a line in the sand’ with regards to the criticism of his reign.

The 51-year-old had been faced with mounting pressure as Martin O’Neill’s tenure as Ireland manager drew to a close last month.

Ahead of what turned out to be O’Neill’s final match in charge against Denmark in Aarhus, some fans had claimed that protest flags emblazoned with the slogan ‘#DelaneyOut’ had been confiscated by Danish officials as they entered the stadium.

Mick McCarthy and John Delaney Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy (left) alongside FAI chief, John Delaney. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Similar accusations have been levelled against the FAI – more recently ahead of a game in Belgrade at the beginning of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

“I had nothing to do with banners,” he told supporters in quotes reported by The Sun. “You’d swear I know everything about everything that goes on in the organisation.

I am the CEO but I can’t be responsible for everything. I can’t be aware of everything. I was asked before the game was I involved and I said I knew nothing about it.”

Delaney also addressed ticket issues ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign opener away to Gibraltar next March.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that 500 tickets would be made available to fans travelling to the 2,300-seater Victoria Stadium, but Delaney said he was hopeful of securing a further 300 tickets for travelling support.

“I’ve spoken to Gibraltar today and yesterday. We’ll probably get 800 out of them,” he said.

I got on with them. It’s a personal thing. The first thing to do is try to bag the 800. I don’t think we’ll have too much of a problem with the hardcore [fans getting tickets].”

In a statement today, Ballybrack Seagulls supporters group, whose members attended the meeting on Thursday night say they was ‘still plenty of work to do but a real desire was shown from all to get back on track’.

It read: “An open meeting of many of Ireland’s hardcore travelling support took place in the Orchard Stillorgan on Thursday evening.

“The meeting was facilitated by Wayne O’Sullivan – a member of Ireland’s largest supporters club, Ballybrack Seagulls, on the back of some divisions within the Irish supporters.

“The agenda was to give all in attendance a platform to air any grievances they had that would block unity within the fan base. Invited and in attendance were the FAI CEO John Delaney and the FAI head of security Joe McGlue .

“All areas of Irish football were discussed and questions were put to John and Joe. Both were comfortable to give their side of events. Clarity was given to all concerns and FAI staff happily addressed any queries from the fans.

Satisfactory guarantees were given to work towards and tremendous trust and respect was formed to give foundation to more similar meetings planned in the near future.

“With the change in management team/coaching structures of the FAI in the past week , the goal of all the like-minded fans present was to come together and unite and use the months before our next competitive fixture as a way to rebuild bonds, come together and join forces that would result in our world-renowned fans being on the same page once the first match against Gibraltar rolls around.

A general appreciation from all present was the common outcome of the fans from Thursday, clarity was given and slates wiped clean.

“Still plenty of work to do but a real desire was shown from all to get back on track and continue to do what we do best and that’s supporting our beloved nation in foreign stadia world wide, together.”

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.

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Cian Roche


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