\"Denis

Denis O'Brien Photo by: Google Images

An Open Letter to FAI benefactor Denis O’Brien

\"Denis

Denis O'Brien Photo by: Google Images

Hi Denis, long time no see. Hope you are well and survived Friday night’s mauling for your team and your manager at the hands of the Germans.

Twitter land tells me you left your seat in the Premier Level early and I can’t say I blame you if you did.  The game was over long before the final whistle.

You’ve done well for us in recent years by the way. Paying half of Giovanni Trapattoni’s wages has allowed the FAI to spend money on other things that matter and we should thank you for that kind gesture.

Without your donation our team would never have got a manager with Trap’s track record and, by and large, he has been good for us - until now that it.

You are a shrewd businessman Denis, always have been and always will be so you will know the end when you see it.

You certainly know the value of an investment and you know when it is time to get out. Now is the time to get out of this arrangement.

We need one more cheque before you go however, the €2million cheque it will probably take to buy out Giovanni’s contract and allow him to enjoy his retirement in peace and in Italy.

His time amongst us is over now. That’s life. Every great relationship, like every good business deal, has to end somewhere.

In football you always get to a stage in the relationship between team and management and between fans and manager where there is just no point carrying on. We are there now, Irish football and Giovanni Trapattoni.

It’s a shame because Trap is a nice guy. Jack Charlton with charisma I’ve called him since we first met on the day of his coronation at the RDS in Dublin.

Giovanni, as you well know, is a charming man with a footballing knowledge and a trophy cabinet to beat anything ever seen in these isles.

He has the medals and the accolades, the trophies and the headlines. Of that there is no doubt.

Trap has made a difference. He almost got us to the World Cup finals in South Africa but never forget we were still level with France when Thierry Henry handled that ball and there was no guarantee we’d have got through that night anyway.

He did get us to the Euros last summer. You were there so you know the excitement and the pleasure of the Irish fans who travelled to Poland with hope and expectation in their hand luggage.

Alas, Poland was the beginning of the inevitable end of our relationship with Trap.

The training camp and the methods in Italy were antiquated and wrong. Some say the players were worn out and bored by the time they got to Sopot.

The tactics were poor. Trap’s ways looked like those of an old man, in football terms anyway, against the younger Slaven Bilic on the night we were outplayed by Croatia. It has all gone downhill from there.

In Poznan and Gdansk and again this week, he has looked like a manager out of touch with modern football - a man who has a glorious past but no grasp of the future.

In media terms he would be a hot metal printer with no clue about the digital age you are so keen to explore as part of your business empire.
I read your comments on the internet in a recent interview with my good friend Niall O’Dowd out in New York.

You also spoke that day of your support for Giovanni Trapattoni and the FAI.

Here’s what you said to irishcentral.com: “I have a gentleman’s understanding with John Delaney and I am happy with that.”

You also asked that the Green Army be ‘realistic’ in light of the team’s European Championship disappointments.

You added: “Look, we need to be realistic. I went to all three games in Poland and it was a fantastic atmosphere.

“I know everyone was beating back home about how we got killed, but look, we were up against the two finalists and Croatia, who are one of the best central European footballing nations.

“Obviously the team did not perform to its ability and you have to ask why
– was it because they were tired? Was it because they were in camp for too long?

“But at the end of the day Trapattoni is a hell of a manager. He got us there, he nearly got us to the World Cup only for a handball, and the fact that he got us all the way to the European Championships is a great achievement.

“We have maybe three or four really good players and the rest are good players. There’s that little difference.”

On Friday we didn’t even have three or four really good players against a German team made up of really great players.

Injuries and retirements hit us hard this weekend but that’s only half the story.

We played like a team with no idea and no great confidence on Friday night. We went out a spent and beaten docket before a ball was kicked.

The team lost the crowd the minute the first goal went in and the FAI, like their manager, are slowly losing their public.

Fans will watch Tuesday night’s game in the Faroes on TV but few of them will pay to watch Greece or Poland in friendly games at the Aviva in November and February respectively.

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