Who are the April Fools?

By Dermot Keely (@keelysbar)

It’s now a couple of weeks into the John Delaney/FAI saga. We have seen a man resign from the post of CEO and be appointed to the position of Executive Vice President, a new post in an organisation permanently strapped for cash. An organisation that borrowed €100,000 from its own CEO but did not recognise this loan in their accounts. Sports Ireland now has reservations about said loan.

We have also witnessed a full on PR operation from the “Grass Roots” of Irish Football, in support of the Ex-CEO. His Trojan work in giving out Government money as if it was his own, his ability to press the flesh and consume numerous chicken dinners is being repaid. 

John Delaney refers constantly to the “football family” but obviously some of this family are regarded higher than others. While the “Grass Roots” are courted by the Ex-CEO, the League of Ireland has been starved of attention. John Delaney worked out very early that the “Grass Roots” have enough power to keep him in control. The League of Ireland however has been left to survive or die with little interest shown by the great man.

To continue with the analogy of the FAI Family, we are now in the position of the father moving to a smaller house down the road but he is also going to run the big house he has left. He moved from a 3 figure salary to a smaller 3 figure salary, which will enable him to get a further 3 figure salary from UEFA.  Which one of us is the April fool????

Need a new sign at FAI headquarters

The post of Executive Vice President should be withdrawn and no other post offered to him. His time as father of the family has come to an end. Let’s get someone in who loves all the family equally.

We are still waiting for the Competitions Director, who announced the “Champions of Ireland” competition in February, and who stated he would have a sponsor in March to give details of same, or maybe he meant March 2020 or 2021or 2022…..  It must have been an early April Fools announcement in February as he announced it BEFORE it was agreed with his Northern counterparts.

On a better note, the League of Ireland continues to please, with good crowds and it looks like 2 competitive divisions. I thought Dundalk played really well in beating Cork City and Shamrock Rovers continue to win and look very solid. It’s a huge game for Cork this week against Rovers. Even this early in the season I think this is a must win game for Cork, while Dundalk will be hoping that Rovers slip up. In the First Division things look extremely tight, with no team really showing they want to be the boss.

It was great to show the Dundalk /Cork game last Friday and I’m looking forward to Cork and Rovers this week. With good following of League of Ireland people into to see the games, it’s very disappointing that we have been unable to stream games this season.

One thought on “Who are the April Fools?”

  1. Well said Dermot.
    As a LOI fan of 50+ years, I really believed that the FAI would EVENTUALLY do something for our league, despite decades of knocks and neglect from that quarter, as well as sneers from some of the “best fans in the world”.

    I bought into the lie that the LOI would be the number one FAI priority as soon as the Aviva debt is paid off. I’m now at the stage where I seriously doubt that the FAI will ever clear the Aviva debt, never mind do anything for the good of the league so many of us enjoy.

    They’ll find some new shimmy to hand the LOI over to some related quango and wash their hands of it. How bad can that be anyway? Maybe they’ll get some new clown to do a “study” (for 50k) to come up with findings that the LOI “is not too bad, really”.

    Maybe JD is really well-intentioned and is really doing his best and has a master plan to advance football from its erstwhile position of utter penury in this country. Maybe he is just an unlucky prophet like the old number 19 bus years ago that used to arrive an hour late which bore the brunt of all the people who had been waiting, even though it was the one that let them in out of the rain.

    Will he make it into the UEFA inner circle…or even higher? After all, Harry Cavan from Northern Ireland did it 50 years ago. Why not our John Boy? All he needs to do is to keep his copybook nice and clean. No more silly tennis ball incidents please. If the “best fans in the world” want to register a protest – no matter how ill-conceived or unwarranted that friends of the FAI think it may be – they should simply NOT GO to Ireland home games thus depriving the FAI blazers of badly-coveted cash. The fans could still preserve their wonderful, fun-loving reputation by wearing their Celtic tops at Ireland’s away games.Win win for everybody.

    My experience of 50 years+ attending LOI and international matches (until they became packed with event junkies and very expensive) leads me to declare that there is a massive disconnect between people who go to international games and those who go to LOI matches. And the FAI’s only interest in the LOI is in collecting affiliation fees (19k per club) and imposing fines to rinse as much as they can get out of it. Does anyone else remember the apocryphal tale of an FAI official presenting Sligo Rovers with an invoice for their medals as they celebrated their FAI Cup final win over Shamrock Rovers in the Aviva?

    I well remember that the FAI had to abandon its “Friends of the FAI” fund-raising draw in 1985 when they couldn’t sell 10,000 tickets at a grand each, just before they fumbled and foostered Big Jack into pole position, despite allegedly having tipped the wink to Johnny Giles. Then a Scot volleyed home a winning goal in a relatively-meanlingless game against Bulgaria on a wet October Wednesday night in 1987 and the Republic of Ireland had qualified for its first-ever finals appearance. The next day, every business in Ireland was queuing up to discuss sponsorship with them and the very-same gentlemen of the FAI were in the clover. Bigtime, big, big, bigtime.

    32 years later and the LOI still ploughs its lonely furrow.Will the FAI ever address its relationship with the domestic league, even after the Aviva and every emergency-appointed manager is paid off?
    Sad.

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