You have to hand it to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). When it comes to being presented with an open goal they can always be relied upon to balloon the ball hopelessly over the bar.
If we were dealing with any other Football Association in the world fans would be storming the building by now, hauling the CEO’s out by the scruff of their necks for immediate execution.
In John Delaney’s (FAI CEO) case this would involve two executions. First, the insurgents would have to remove the badger that resides on his head and shoot it,straight between the eyes.
But be warned it will have to be put down with a silver bullet. Otherwise it will slither away and incubate on another CEO’s skull.
Following that, the insurgents can turn their guns on Delaney.
Meantime, as far as I am aware London is the capital of England.
I am fairly confident that Londinium, as it was originally named by the Romans, is not part of the greater Republic of Ireland.
Maybe someone should mention this to the FAI.
Ireland were handed a friendly against Brazil a few months back by way of part-compensation for being cheated out of the World Cup, first by the totally corrupt FIFA, and then by Thierry Henry’s Hand of Frog goal in Paris.
However, it was confirmed today that the game against Brazil has been fixed for the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC for Tuesday March 2.
For those not too familiar with football, the Emirates Stadium is in Londinium.
That’s some compensation isn’t it? First of all the glamour friendly is fixed for another country, and secondly, the game has been scheduled for the middle of a working week.
How many Irish fans will be there, it’s hard to know. The Emirates holds about 70,000 (note to the builders of the new Aviva Stadium which will only hold 50,000 when it opens).
According to a number of reports the GAA were willing to open Croke Park for the Brazil friendly at a special rate. They GAA usually charge €1.5m to hand over the keys to the front door.
But the offer appears to have been turned down. The promoters Kentaro, who more or less organise friendlies for Brazil in Europe, seem to be calling the shots here. The FAI for their part are trying to cut costs by agreeing to move the game to London. Apparently the Gunners charge a lower rate to rent out their Stadium.
Bizarrely, given their attitude to football in the not so distant past, the GAA today said THEY are “disappointed” that the game won’t be played in Croker. Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna told the media that he had been notified in writing by the FAI that the Arse will host the game.
He said: “It’s disappointing because a game like this brings a great deal to the city but it was their decision to make. The market and economy are a different place as compared to when Brazil came here in 2008 and our rate reflected that but unfortunately we still weren’t successful in attracting the game.”
So there you have it. The only ones that give a fuck about Irish soccer fans are the GAA. The FAI couldn’t care less about their supporters.
These are the same fans that followed their team throughout an arduous World Cup qualifying campaign, culminating in France shaming themselves in Paris in the play-offs.
These are the same fans whose money is being used to pay Giovanni Trapattoni, who still sounds as if he’s auditioning for a part in Godfather 4.
And what do Irish football fanes get in return for the above loyalty. They get the chance to see Ireland play Brazil, provided they pay for match tickets, flights and accommodation for a game which will be technically classified as a “home fixture” for Ireland.
That, thanks to the FAI, is their compensation for being cheated out of a place in the World Cup.
FIFA granted this friendly to Ireland as a gesture of goodwill. However, the FAI are refusing to pass on that goodwill to the fans.
What has the Minister for Sport to say about all this latest debacle?