FAI chief executive John Delaney has confirmed that Martin O’Neill will be the new Republic of Ireland manager, with Roy Keane as his number two in what the Irish support hope will signal “a new era for Irish football.”
O’Neill is expected to appoint his own backroom staff with the combined package estimated to cost the FAI more than €2 million per annum.
Delaney has stated that an official press conference and unveiling will take place on Saturday 9th November.
Interestingly, it was Martin O’Neill’s decision to bring Roy Keane into the frame, with Delaney claiming that the FAI had no participation in the decision.
The new number one and two have a lot in common despite their almost 20 year age difference. Both have played for Nottingham Forest under the great Brian Clough, and both men have held the reins at Sunderland football club.
With Keane and O’Neill both having taken a brief hiatus from the game since their last jobs, the Ireland vacancy seems like a fantastic opportunity for the two Irishmen to get back into the game, albeit at an international level which neither have experience in managing.
O’Neill and Keane are a perfect balancing act – O’Neill, the affable Belfast man with his modest personality and calm temperament. Keane, with his determined and infallible attitude, renowned for his hot-headed nature and no-nonsense take on the game.
Neil Lennon stamped his approval on the appointment stating “they’re two great characters with a vast knowledge of the game, two very proud men as well. God help the players!”
On paper, this looks like a potentially successful appointment, although the danger is also there for all to see. It would have been a huge mistake to hire another foreign manager after Trapattoni’s spell, but Keane and O’Neill are widely respected and influential figures in the game. And more importantly, they’re Irish!
However, can two big characters and personalities work so closely together and generate a successful partnership to take Irish football forward, or will it be a case of one step forward and two steps back for John Delaney and the FAI?
The Irish support has already taken to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in particular, to voice their opinions on the matter. The decision seems to be met with a widely mixed reaction.
Paddy Power have tweeted: “Ireland to qualify for Euro 2016 now 5/6! 3/1 to qualify for World Cup 2018. First to leave their job, 4/6 Keane v 11/10 O’Neill.”
Featured image credit: Wiki