It’s official – the first Ireland head coach search since 2018 is underway – but it’s really a decade longer since there was a contest.
On that last occasion, chief executive John Delaney already had discussed Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny’s candidature with his board before they dispensed with Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.
The board ratified Delaney’s call before his final game, a soulless, scoreless draw against Denmark in a freezing Aarhus.
Given what was discovered about the board machinations of that era, such premature decisions were the norm.
As was the case when O’Neill was being lined up to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni in late 2013. The only surprise was Keane being parachuted in as the sidekick.
In reality, the last time a sense of open competition was in operation preceded Trap’s arrival in 2008.
Delaney’s confidence in landing O’Neill after sacking Steve Staunton proved ill-judged and a number of contenders, including one-time favourite Terry Venables, were spoken to by the chief’s sub-committee of Don Givens, Ray Houghton and Don Howe.
Trapattoni’s availability, and closeness to Liam Brady, changed the dial and the clout of Denis O’Brien’s sponsorship of wages facilitated a contract offer that lured the Italian.
Gone are those days of paying managers like Trap and O’Neill in the region of €1.9m basic annual salary.
Mick McCarthy’s brief second stint kept him just about inside the seven-figure bracket, whereas Kenny was paid around €560,000 per annum since he assumed control earlier than the preordained August 2020 handover date due to Covid-19.
Given the FAI remain straddled with liabilities of €50m, they’re unlikely to embark on a quest to resume those hefty salary levels.
Kenny’s salary was less than mostRead on irishexaminer.com