THE Football Association of Ireland will take its time to decide on a successor to Giovanni Trapattoni.
Trapattoni’s reign as Republic of Ireland manager came to an end yesterday morning, when the two parties agreed an amicable split in the wake of Tuesday night’s 1-0 World Cup qualifier defeat in Austria which effectively ended their hopes of making it to Brazil next summer.
Martin O’Neill had already been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to replace the 74-year-old Italian even before his departure had been announced, as it became clear his days in charge were drawing to a close.
But chief executive John Delaney insists the FAI board will not rush to make a decision as it considers its options.
Delaney told Newstalk: “The board will meet within the next week.
“Today was a day to deal with Giovanni and [assistant manager] Marco [Tardelli] in a dignified manner, and hopefully people will respect the job he has done.
“We will meet and will determine a process. We do have time. The European qualifiers don’t start until next September. We will take stock of the last couple of days and then discuss the process.”
O’Neill, who was sacked by Sunderland at the end of March, is not the only potential candidate to fill the vacancy, with former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, currently at Ipswich, his Ireland captain Roy Keane and current Norwich boss Chris Hughton also figuring prominently in the betting.
“I think there will be plenty of interest because first of all, 24 teams go to the European Championships,” said Delaney.
“It’s genuinely accepted we have a good crop of young players and the monetary incentive has been good over the last number of years.
“The knowledge of the Irish job because of Trapattoni across Europe has created interest in managing the Irish team.
“It will be interesting to see who puts their best foot forward.”
Asked specifically about Keane, who famously returned home from the Far East before the 2002 World Cup finals had started, Delaney said, laughing: “I don’t think I will comment on any individual.”
He added: “I think names like Mick [McCarthy], Brian McDermott, Chris Hughton, Roy Keane all come into the pot – Martin O’Neill, of course.
“I wouldn’t want to comment on any individual chances. Mick has done a very good job for Ireland and in England as well.
“We will look at the job description over the next week.
“The last four or five days have been difficult for everyone in Irish football. It was important to get a decision made in a dignified way. We have to look at who can get the best out of the players available to us.
“Sometimes in Ireland when things are great, we get too carried away; when they are not, we get too negative.”
The collective fate of Trapattoni and Tardelli was sealed at the Ernst Happel Stadion on Tuesday night.
David Alaba’s late winner for Austria left Ireland needing to win both of their remaining qualifiers, against Germany, who need one more win to ensure top spot, and Kazakhstan, handsomely while also relying on Sweden to lose their last two fixtures to secure an improbable passage to the finals.
There were discussions shortly after the game, and talks resumed yesterday morning, when a mutual split was agreed.
Trapattoni, who had insisted once again during his post-match press conference that he would not resign, said: “I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here, which has always meant a lot to us.
“We leave this country with emotion because we understand the Irish supporters who have a well-deserved international reputation and they have our utmost respect.
“I would like to thank John Delaney, [FAI president] Paddy McCaul, [honorary secretary] Michael Cody and the FAI board for their support and friendship over the last five and a half years.
“I would also want to thank all FAI staff members, including the backroom team and the players, who have been great to work with during the last three campaigns.
“I wish them well in the future and hope that the job we have done leaves everything in a good place for my successor to take over.”
The former Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland boss, 61, is available after being shown the door at the Stadium of Light in March. Born in County Derry, he has already been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite, although it is understood he had not been contacted before Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at the Ernst Happel Stadion.
Led Ireland to the 2002 World Cup, where his differences with Roy Keane infamously came to a head. The current Ipswich boss was at the helm for six years and, like O’Neill, the 54-year-old would enjoy popular support if he was appointed — he had a better record than all of his successors.
Won 53 caps and remains a hugely popular figure in Ireland. First stepped into the limelight at Newcastle, whom he guided back into the Barclays Premier League, before impressing at both Birmingham and current club Norwich.
Born in Slough to Irish parents, he declared while managing Reading that the Republic of Ireland job was his ultimate aspiration. McDermott, 52, is currently with Leeds.
For his many fans, Keane would be the perfect man to shake things up with his no-holds-barred approach to the game. Currently working as a TV pundit, the 42-year-old Corkman cut his teeth as a boss at Sunderland, winning promotion to the Premier League, but has done little in management since.