Good on Paper: Hacks, the Sack, and No More Craic for Trap

Don’t read the papers Trap, stick to online blogs.

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has reportedly told the Irish players not to read the newspapers in the wake of last Friday’s Russian defeat. Is it any wonder? The honeymoon is over Trap. The knives are not so much out as they are making shite of your bridal dress.

“After the game, the first thing I said to the players is that they must see the game again. But, psychologically, you must not read the newspapers. They can be psychologically damaged when they read bad, bad, bad.”

One un-named newspaper, obsessed with the FAI’s finances, (come to think of it, the paper is obsessed with the nation’s finances) that rhymes with schmindependent, nailed its colours to the mast over the weekend, predicting, had we lost in Slovakia last night it would:

“signify the untenable nature of the exorbitant stewardship of Giovanni Trapattoni”. (Money reference # 1)

Not only is Trapattoni in his apparent final days as leader of the Republic, but like Spartacus in Rome, the players are deep into planning an imminent rebellion.

“Recruited at lavish expense (Money Reference #2) to extract a final, victorious bow for Keane and other gnarled, increasingly frustrated veterans such as Richard Dunne, Shay Given, Kevin Kilbane and Damien Duff…given the intense fissures that have developed within this Irish squad, as amplified in these pages yesterday.”

Apparently the players are frustrated.

Much has been made of Richard Dunne’s post-match comments on Friday. Much of it completely ignored what the defensive giant actually had to say too. Dunne suggested that the Irish players were afraid to get on the ball and pass it. Yet when asked directly by RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue if the management allowed them to pass, he replied “Yes”.

“We are allowed. But for whatever reason, we just don’t feel comfortable doing it. We’ve gotta have confidence and we’ve got to be braver when we have the ball. It’s alright going long but it’s probably the easy way out for players.”

The easy way out. Limited players, who don’t back themselves, will take the easy way out. They’ll play the ball backwards, they’ll go all the way back to their goalkeeper. Sound familiar?

Glenn Whelan’s comments were an ideal example of a player passing the buck.

“Everyone would like to see better football and try and get more passing around the pitch, but if it’s not to be and the manager wants something different, then what can you do?”

On Friday night, Glenn Whelan demonstrated time and again that, perhaps as a result of his current club form, he was incapable of giving a simple forward pass to another player in a green shirt. The only time Ireland strung passes together was across the back four and eventually back to Given. Whelan and Green offered zero creativity. It’s a bit rich for him to say the back four simply by-passed them when the evidence glaringly points to the reason. Whelan was incapable of showing for the ball, indicated by the constant delays before our full-backs could execute throw-ins. The central midfielders were not looking to take possession. Don’t blame the manager for your inabilty to complete a six-yard pass. Tuesday was hardly a vast improvement.

On Sunday, former international Richard Sadlier wrote:

“At no stage are they encouraged (or even allowed) to retain possession in an attempt to dictate the pace of the game. They defend, and then they attack.”

Yet, Trapattoni himself, after the games away to Bulgaria and Italy in the last campaign bemoaned the fact that his players did not continue to play the attacking football that had yielded goals. The footballing press conveniently ignore the actual words coming from the manager’s mouth.

On Monday, the paper read:

“Throughout much of Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign as Ireland’s exorbitantly rewarded manager (Money reference #3) ….A long-ball tactic was being replaced by a long-ball tactic. In 2010, this is what €1.8m will achieve.” (Money reference #4)

Not only does he discourage adventure, but apparently Trapattoni’s wealth of footballing knowledge is now also up for scrutiny.

“The central theme is one wherein Trapattoni is losing the plot. More worryingly, he is losing his players and serious questions are perpetuating about a man upon whose shoulders a large portion of the FAI’s dwindling finances have been punted.” (Money reference #5)

The same paper put it to Trapattoni before the Slovak game that, in their words, “No player is allowed to decide what happens on the pitch”.

Trap’s reply:

“The system is not closed to creativity. I don’t forbid them from playing their game. I have to inform only about what they should do in this position.”

Straight from the horse’s mouth. Yet the incessant undermining of the manager continues.

Trapattoni, not journalists or supporters, is paid €1.8m a year to assess challenges such as those posed by Russia and react, or gift his players the responsibility and authority to respond(Money reference #6)

The charge that Trapattoni doesn’t rate or trust his squad, therefore he implements a rigid system, could be exposed if you consider that he indeed places too much faith in the players; those like Whelan and Green, who subsequently betray that trust with woefully inadequate performances. The notion that internationals like Dunne or O’Shea are incapable of picking out a midfielder because their manager wants them to thump the ball long is frankly ridiculous. It is more telling that, on Friday in particular, O’Shea and Dunne were given no other option by a totally inadequate midfield.

Inadequate on Friday, but not always inadequate. Not inadequate when you have Damien Duff or Stephen Hunt to call on. Not inadequate when you have a captain and striker who’s in a rich vein of club form and able to recieve a through ball. Not inadequate if the manager was able to select better creative players in midfield. Maybe a Coleman, a McCarthy, or a Reid.

On that argument Trap, you’ll have to come up with some better answers. On the question of your footballing authority, however, your years of experience have taught you that the newspapers won’t listen to you either way. They’ve already decided the answers you are going to give, and will twist it to suit their own agenda. Don’t read the papers Trap. They are not interested in investing a penny for your thoughts anyway. (Money reference #7)

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