Giovanni Trapattoni let his infamous cat out of the bag on Friday morning when he told a number of journalists, including this one, that he had agreed terms with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) on another two-year extension to his time as Ireland boss.
The news was delivered at the end of a tele-conference call with the media from his Milan home, trusty translator Manuela by his side.
Trap used his own mixture of English and Italian -- Trappish us wizened old hacks call it -- to confirm the news we had all expected.
“Yes, we have agreed in principal,” he said. “No details as of yet. Agreed in principal and everything is going forward. It’s agreed but not signed.”
As Trappish goes, that was a pretty decent stab at the English language for the Italian in charge of our football team.
The message, while not all that succinct, was clear. Trap is staying put.
It took the FAI another five days to confirm as much. One of their sort even suggested the story was “speculative” on behalf of the media, even though the comments were relayed over the phone from Trapattoni’s Milan home to a conference room in the FAI’s own Abbotstown office.
By Tuesday morning, all was good however. The FAI were able to deliver a press release confirming what the Sunday papers had printed over 48 hours earlier, and they even had a quote or two from benefactor Denis O’Brien included.
Why it took so long to confirm Irish sport’s worst kept secret is still beyond me.
The day after his team had secured Euro 2012 qualification, Trap told anyone prepared to listen in the Dublin Airport hotel that his new contract was a “formality” as he got another English word spot on.
It took Irish football’s power brokers all of two weeks to bring the formality to fruition. Speed has never been their forte and, to be fair to them, they had a few ducks to get in a row before they could tie Trap down, not least the financial ducks.
All’s well that ends well, however. There is now no doubt that Trapattoni will lead Ireland to the European finals next summer and into the World Cup qualifiers that will follow straight afterwards.
We’ll have a better idea how well Trapattoni’s team will do at Euro 2012 after Friday’s draw for the championships in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
Trap will land in the smoky city on Thursday afternoon with a new contract in his back pocket. After the Estonian result, I never doubted it would be any other way, even if the FAI pretended they were going to hedge their bets.