Noel King returns to the Irish senior set-up as caretaker manager 23 years after his involvement as coach with Jack Charlton at Italia 90.
King replaces Giovanni Trapattoni in the Irish dug-out for the final World Cup qualifiers with Germany and Kazakhstan, stepping up from his role as U21 coach.
Ireland have no hope now of going to the World Cup in Brazil next year but back in 1990, King formed part of Jack Charlton’s back-room team as a coach during our first appearance at the greatest show on Earth.
Having forged his reputation as a player and manager in the League of Ireland – he coached Derry City, Shamrock Rovers, Limerick, Shelbourne (to a League title as a temporary replacement for Dermot Keely), and Finn Harps – King is credited with transforming Ireland’s international women’s set-up after almost ten years as coach of the senior side. In 2009, the team just missed out on qualification to the European Championship, losing in a play-off to Iceland.
The Dubliner led the squad to their highest ever ranking while in 2010 he guided the Irish U17 girls to silver at the UEFA Championship and the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup.
The 56-year-old takes temporary charge in the wake of Giovannni Trapattoni’s departure as the FAI task Ray Houghton and new International Performance Director Rudd Doktor with the challenge of identifying a new senior manager.
King was appointed as the U21 boss in August 2010 by Dokter’s predecessor Wim Koevermans, as successor to Don Givens.
Tallaght Stadium was the setting when he took charge of the side for the first time.
Having posted some horrendous results under the tenure of Givens, King presided over a 5-0 win, our biggest margin at that level. The goalscorers that night in Dublin were were Anthony Stokes (2), Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, and Owen Garvan.
Stokes may well earn a reunion with his former under-age coach for Ireland’s final World Cup qualifiers with the Germans and Kazakhs.
In the current Euro campaign, the U21s were beaten 4-0 by Germany in their last outing in Sligo having defeated the Faroe Islands 4-1 in the opening qualifier.
“Obviously I have a view of the past record of this team but I can’t affect it. I can affect the future and I’d like to be very successful, to qualify for tournaments and produce players for the senior team,” he said back in 2010.
Next month, he’ll take charge of those senior players but, sadly, in less heady days than than his previous involvement when the country was gripped by World cup fever. He’ll be handing over the reins to a new man charged with returning us to the glory days.