Albatross, thy name be Stephen

Discussion in 'Ireland' started by SebastianK, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. SebastianK

    SebastianK Member

    Apr 12, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    Ahoy lads,

    Been a while but as of the past few weeks the issue has been heating up again. Following the crushing disappointment of the dying minutes in Portugal, the embarrassment with Luxembourg earlier this year, the other embarrassment of tying Azerbaijan at home, and the acting as if an accidental Serbian own goal was akin to Ireland winning the World Cup - the discussion has to be had: Should Kenny get the axe after one win (a non-competitive one at that) in sixteen games?.

    Since I began the thread, I'll chime in first - YES. There has been a lot of good will and sympathy directed toward Kenny because many people (myself included) want to see an LOI manager have success at the helm of the boys in green. In fairness to the man, I also acknowledge the dearth of talent at the moment, though there are some promising youngsters, as well as the FAI's issue of being strapped for cash. However, it cannot be ignored that he has the worst record of any manager in Irish history after 16 games, and the regression that we have seen under his management is far too dramatic. Beyond just the failure to win games is that under McCarthy, the team may not have been the most technically skilled but there was still a toughness and grit to the squad that has evaporated under Kenny. He's also not an inspiring man at all, and comes off as easily intimidated, coming across like someone who was scolded by a school teacher for misbehaving around the age of 8 and at 50, is still traumatized by it all.

    Worse off was following the last debacle with Serbia when he told the media that his goal was to build something for Germany 2024 and not the World Cup. I'm disappointed that no media have called him out for clearly lying. Why would his focus be on a tournament that takes place after his contract is set to expire? It's a BS answer that sounds good, and evokes sympathy but has zero application to reality. Furthermore, if one is a manager of Ireland (or any national side for that matter) and their goal is not to qualify for the World Cup, then they have no business being at the job.

    In summary, my own analysis is that Kenny is out of his depth at the international level. Success with the youth side doesn't equate to success on the big job. Brian Kerr took our U20's to third in the world but couldn't qualify for a major tournament with the seniors, and that was at a time when Ireland had enough talent to make both the Euros and the World Cup. Our hearts may be with him, but it's time for someone with a tougher attitude and higher standards, lest we be cast out to sea in minnow territory. I fear that the "In Kenny we trust" sign at the last home stand may better be phrased as "In time we waste".

    What say you lads? have at it!
    Father Ted repped this.
  2. Father Ted

    Father Ted BigSoccer Supporter

    Manchester United, Galway United, New York Red Bulls
    Nov 2, 2001
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    I think Kenny is a bit naive trying to put in a system to play beautiful football. Fact is we don't have great players. Mostly a bunch of journeymen in lower Prem and Championship teams.

    If we want to improve our national team, we should be looking at the structures and coaching at youth level IN Ireland and not be relying on English teams to develop our players. Of course there is no magic solution to this as it will take a lot of time, money and CHANGE. Look at other countries around our population size, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Croatia, they all consistently do better than us at club level and in World Cup/Euros qualifying. Fix the game at home first, then the rest will come.
    Dyvel repped this.
  3. Samarkand

    Samarkand Member+

    May 28, 2001
    If Kenny can manage to lose at home to Luxembourg and draw with Azerbaijan and somehow claim both as moral victories and still be in a job, then I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s not going to get the sack. Most likely the FAI can’t afford to fire him.

    Now, not being sacked and not being worthy of being sacked are two different things. The fact is, based on results, he should go. He’s obviously trying to instil a possession-based game into the side and to be fair, that’s the way football is these days. You play out from the back, bypass the opposition forward line and midfield with 2-3-4 passes and then you have the ball in the danger part of the pitch with an imbalance of players in your favor. Furthermore you then press high up to keep the ball in the opposition half and look to push home your advantage. That’s the theory. Most of the players in the squad are already playing that game or a variation on it at their clubs. But in Kenny’s world, he has no plan B or plan A+. What to do when the opposition has the ball and/or what to do when the opposition plays the same tactics as you.

    Largely his downfall, the team’s downfall has been how to defend. That Luxembourg held us to 0 at home goes a long way to showing that Luxembourg, who were also playing possession football that night, knew how to defend and we didn’t.

    Now you can make the argument that we don’t have the players, not like the old days and so on, but that’s missing the point. We do have enough talent throughout the squad, certainly to beat the Luxembourgs and Azerbaijans of this world, and while we obviously don’t have the talent to compete at the business end of tournaments, we should be there or thereabouts for playoff places. Probably not automatic qualification.

    I think it’s also missing the point to compare us by population to other sides for one obvious reason. The GAA and the IRFU hoover up so many athletes who are footballers in other countries. Better organized, better funded, whatever the reasons, there are huge numbers of talented athletes who don’t even get into the system. A fairer population comparison with football being the poor relation is New Zealand. Everyone wants to be an All-Black. Rugby hoovers up the playing population in the same way in NZ as the GAA and the IRFU in Ireland.

    There’s also Kenny himself. I’m just not certain that for all his bluster about playing his way and so on, I do see a certain misplaced arrogance there. Yes, we all know that Covid wreaked havoc with schedules, timelines and so forth, but the Euro qualifiers were a natural break and he should have allowed McCarthy to finish the job in whatever way the chips would have fallen rather than jumping in to the playoffs when it wasn’t his team, not his results.

    Not having managerial experience outside of the LOI is always going to bite him in the arse, in much the same way as it did for Brían Kerr. Simply put, the club game in England even at 3rd division levels is light years ahead of the LOI and everyone knows that. So you have experienced pros from the PL and Championship taking instruction from a manager who hasn’t done it, no matter how you add up the pieces. McCarthy, O’Neill, Trappatoni, Charlton, yes. They have the managerial scars to go with their tactics and demeanor, Kenny does not. I would wonder about the respect he gets from the senior pros when they speak amongst themselves. And now when the results are so disastrous, their belief in him and his set-up must be waning. I’m not sure that the likes of John Egan and Seamus Coleman enjoy being on a team that can’t even score against Luxembourg at home.

    The FAI can’t afford to fire him, but one moral victory (actually a real-time defeat) against Portugal and a friendly win over the mighty Andorra do not inspire much other than derision. Like Kerr and Staunton, he’s out of his depth. Unlike Kerr and Staunton, he’ll keep his job despite horrendous results and failures.
    SebastianK and Father Ted repped this.
  4. SF19

    SF19 Member+

    Jun 8, 2013
    Nat'l Team:
    A lot of the problems I see with Ireland remind me of the problems I've seen with Greece. In terms of player quality, money woes, and historically how Greece and Ireland have played, there are similarities between our nations.

    It wasn't that long ago we were losing to Faroes and Luxembourg, drawing Liechtenstein, etc. Lately Greece has turned a page and it's because of van't Schip. It's not like he's perfect. He has some big flaws as a manager, but in terms of his coaching, the best I've ever seen in Greece. Better than Ernesto Valverde, Otto Rehhagel or Fernando Santos.

    I've seen the difference with players because of his coaching. He would leave Tsimikas, by then a Liverpool player, on the bench and start Giannoulis, now at Norwich but at that time a kid who had just turned pro at PAOK. It seemed odd at the time, but Giannoulis would really commit himself to the attack just because van't Schip pushed him to play like that. Tsimikas was more reluctant to get forward like that. It was almost kamikaze what Giannoulis was doing, but honestly he had Giannoulis playing like Spinazzola had for Italy at the Euros. He's now at Norwich because of this I believe. TBT I don't think he'll play much given Brandon Williams looks the more complete left-back, but it stunned me what van't Schip did with this kid who by all means looked destined to play his career in Greece.
    SebastianK repped this.

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