It did not take long for the sugar-coated welcome to the new Irish management team of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane to be left with a crème brûlée finish.
The appointment of O’Neill and Keane was Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Dortmund in the Champions League. While the general mood, when discussing O’Neill, of Johnny Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady was positive, doubts were expressed over Keane and his role with the team.
Giles praised O’Neill as an intelligent football man and Brady expressed his delight that the Derry native has decided to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni. Dunphy added his voice to the cheerful din before adding that the big question was ‘why did [O'Neill] choose Keane’. Dunphy declared, “The fact that O’Neill wants him is good enough for me.”
Brady then held sway as he cast doubt on Keane’s temperament and questioned his fellow pundits for praising the judgement and leadership of the former Sunderland and Ipswich boss. Brady said:
I don’t understand why he brought him back… [Keane's] relationships with players was disastrous at times… If he had great thoroughness and leadership, why didn’t he make it in the managerial sphere?”
Dunphy urged Brady to give the new management a chance and referred to the previous Irish management duo of Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli as a “regime”.
Brady responded, “I hope Martin hasn’t underestimated Keane’s presence… the media is obsessed with him.” Dunphy was quick with a pithy reply: “It isn’t the media that’s obsessed, the public is entranced.”
The panel discuss Ireland’s appointment of O’Neill and Keane. Credit: RTÉ
Brady, capped 72 times for his country and a former Ireland assistant under Trapattoni, was not convinced. “I’m so delighted that Martin got the job and if I have to put up with [Roy Keane] then so be it.”
What did you make of the panel’s debate over O’Neill’s decision to appoint Keane as his assistant?