FAI Chief Executive John Delaney has confirmed that the appointment of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane as the new Irish management is imminent with an unveiling expected on Saturday. Contracts are in the final stages of being drawn up. The fact that both are away on punditry duty with ITV has postponed the signing but everything should be in place by the weekend.
Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk, Delaney was excited at the prospect of the new management duo, firmly drawing a line in the sand over past disagreements.
Pat Kenny played back some clips of Keane’s choice words on Delaney in the past concerning the Saipan debacle but the Irish football boss confirmed he had already spoken to Keane, and there were “no problems.” The two were in contact last week and Delaney revealed they only briefly mentioned past issues.
“Anything we have said in the past is irrelevant. Irish football and our country is bigger than anything…The past was discussed for 30 seconds, and it was all about the future”
Kenny read out some listener comments regarding Saipan, but Delaney firmly dismissed that there were any lingering problems, even if he got his dates mixed up.
“Saipan was 13 years ago!” We were younger people then.”
The Chief Executive said the Irish squad will arrive in Dublin on Monday to prepare for the home friendly with Latvia and the away fixture, the return to Poznan to take on Poland. He added that he expected O’Neill to take charge of the coaching sessions.
A bumper crowd is now anticipated at Lansdowne Road next week for a game that was previously expected to be played out in a virtually empty stadium.
“The most important thing is that Ireland qualify for tournaments. If success brings full houses at the Aviva, better still,” said Delaney.