A double defeat ended Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign as Ireland boss this week. The killer blow was dealt by the classy David Alaba, the type of player Irish fans could only dream of having in the Irish ranks. Host of the YBIG Football Show Dave O’Grady looks at the aftermath and says, for once, this was a dignified break-up.
A meeting between the FAI and the management team finally released as some would describe, ‘the shackles’ from Irish football. The reality is that Ireland’s football problems run much deeper than the international manager and parting company with Giovanni will not provide a quick fix solution.
There were some positives to the end of this relationship with the romantic Italian. They were in the way it was handled by the FAI. Some positive feedback for a change. Trap’s reign was over in Vienna and you could clearly see when he spoke after the match that he knew the game was up.
Nevertheless, we experienced a major difference this time round. There was no false optimism from an Irish manager desperately clinging to his job, no night of the long knives. This was a healthy and dignified break up. Something that Giovanni deserved. He showed a touch of class in his statement when he thanked the country, the fans, the players and staff. His charisma and unique manner will be missed but he has gone out with his head held high.
Once again, we turn another corner in Irish football and hopefully the new man in the hot seat will have learned many positives from the Trapattoni era but bring about a new approach for this team. We still have not beaten a higher ranked team since we famously overcame the Dutch in 2001. Scotland and Northern Ireland even had their fair share of scalps.
All the signs point to Martin O’Neill. He seems like the perfect candidate and is currently the bookies’ favourite. Whoever we get in needs to have an openness. This quality was in short supply during Trap’s time in charge. We are a small country and need to have our best players on the pitch if we are to stand any chance of qualifying for a major tournament.
If you look at similarly ranked countries to Ireland, they will always have their best players in the starting line up. Most countries will simply build their team around their most technically gifted player. For Ireland, this should have been Wes Hoolahan.
A crucial mission of the new boss will be to ensure that all eligible players are available for selection and make international exiles a thing of the past. The argument of ‘not being good enough’ and ‘we don’t have the players’ does stand up and because of this we may not qualify for future tournaments.
But let us at least go down fighting with the best players on the field giving it their all. If we do this in the next campaign, we may have the old Lansdowne roar back and could take a huge step and win against a higher ranked team for the first time since 2001. Onwards and upwards.