On the Road again – back in Dundalk

By Dermot Keely

Sorry about missing the blog – circumstances beyond my control unfortunately. Since my last blog I have been back to Dundalk. Whilst there I was able to attend the Dundalk v Derry City match with my old mentor Jim McLaughlin, glad to say he is in rude health and is in great form as well.

Every time I see him I remember what a shrewd, clever manager he was. We are all biased about our opinions on players that we played for/against. It is nearly impossible to compare players across generations because football changes over the years. It is easier to compare managers.  

In my opinion, given the players at his disposal in Dundalk and his achievements with them, Jim has to go down as the best manager Dundalk have ever had. And right on his coat-tails of course is Stephen Kenny.

Speaking about all things Dundalk – it was great to attend the game and meet up with all my football friends. I was impressed with Derry, they were neat and tidy and well organized. Dundalk were 2-0 up and were coasting. … Then they let Derry back into the game with some poor defending. But these things happen and Sligo Rovers did everybody else a favour by beating Shamrock Rovers.

Shamrock Rovers are another team that has impressed me this year. They have strengthened up and for the first time in a couple of years they look the Real Deal.  I think the race for the title will go all the way to the wire this year.

The FAI story is off the front pages at the moment but the work going on behind the scenes is hugely important. A vacuum has been created and I fear terribly that in the rush to fill the vacuum mistakes will be made.

There is talk of board members who have resigned putting themselves back up for re-election. This cannot be allowed. These people either knew what was going on, should have known what was going on and did nothing- allowing it to happen.

Today we read of an €2,000,000 golden handshake deal for John Delaney, which was passed seemingly without question by the board of the FAI. When this deal is taken into account, his already huge salary of €320,000 plus expenses is raised to over €700,000. This is a scandal of mammoth proportions. These people cannot be allowed into positions of power again – ignorance is no excuse!

Brendan Menton, former Treasurer of the FAI and vastly experienced, indicated that UEFA could put an outside group in charge to run the FAI until all the issues about governance etc have been settled. But whatever the outcome, we need a completely new structure for the FAI not a rehash of the old one.

A final note – the prize money for the winners of the new competition between the 2 league winners North and South is to be welcomed. But what genius thought of the name “Unite The Union” – had Nutsy a hand in this?????

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