It's official - O'Neill and Keane dream team confirmed by FAI

It's official - O'Neill and Keane dream team confirmed by FAI

Martin O'Neill is to be the new Irish soccer manager and Roy Keane will be his assistant.

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney announced the news on live national radio, saying he hopes the team will signal "a new era for Irish football."

61-year-old O'Neill is expected to appoint his own backroom team, with the combined package likely to cost the FAI more than €2m a year.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk radio, Delaney said “I’m sure for the public there might have been a bit of surprise … [but] we’ve been in negotiations for some time.”

He said there would be an official press conference unveiling on Saturday, but things were at an advanced stage with contract paperwork, and there was “nothing in principle that will be an impediment to signing.”

Delaney also said Martin decided he wanted to bring Roy in and the FAI had no role to play, and that they had no objection.

Delaney explains that Roy's role will be up to the manager, Martin.

“Roy and I wouldn’t have had much contact in the past, because he was a player with the team and I was an honorary treasurer … there was never any dialogue,” he said.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think we’d ever sat down and spoken before we did last week, the way that we did.”

“The past is the past … anything that happened previously from my point of view is now irrelevant.”

Asked if Roy Keane's controversial departure from Saipan would become an issue, he said: "Saipan was 13 years ago. Are we going to talk about Saipan for another 13 years?"

The Saipan incident in fact took place during the 2002 World Cup preparation, eleven years ago.

Delaney said the future was about achieving success above anything else.

“It’ll be a new era for Irish football," he claimed. "It will bring exciting times.”

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