Ian Todd, commenting on an earlier post, raises the interesting – and alarming – prospect that the Republic of Ireland might be looking enviously at our manager after the dismal showing against San Marino.
There was, I hope, a tongue-in-cheek element to Ian’s remark. Roy Keane wouldn’t dream of abandoning us now, would he?
It is true that Steve Staunton’s employment prospects have been done no good by his team’s failure to win convincingly on Wednesday night against opposition with a minus-25 goal difference as the game kicked off.
Our old friend Kevin Kilbane – Reid was wrong to persist with him to the detriment of the whole team’s shape, but I always felt he wasn’t really given a fair crack of the whip by some of our fans – was man of the match, according to the one English newspaper report I saw of the game.
But that’s man of a match in which Ireland played as if they were new to the sport and only just scraped a win at the very end.
Keane’s highly encouraging start at the Stadium of Light will hardly have gone unnoticed by Irish football bosses. And no one could question the passion and pride he feels for his country; one of his complaints about Mick McCarthy was that despite the name and family background, he just wasn’t Irish enough.
Yet he is little more than half a season into his first managerial post and has achieved, so far, nothing. Not ready, surely, for international managership – and mentally, to be even surer, nowhere near ready to leave his first job in charge of a club.
I certainly see him itching to move on within a couple of years, assuming he has by then got us back into the Premiership and we are not struggling just to stay there.
But I hope I am right in thinking that he’ll want to accumulate at least that amount of experience – and prove himself – before thinking of accepting the poisoned chalice of leading the national side.
And we do have a useful trump card.
With Niall as chairman, virtually a complete board of Irishmen – my friend John Hays being the honorary Mackem – and a squad overflowing with Irish blood, isn’t Keano already in charge of the Irish national side?