Trap: New deal ‘a formality’

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI is ready and eager to sign on the dotted line and says he now sees no obstacle to an agreement being reached on a new contract with the FAI.

“It’s only a formality and money is not an issue,” he said.

Trapattoni, whose current contract is believed to worth in the region of €1.6m, said that, while he’d spoken to Denis O’Brien in Tallinn, he did not ask if the businessman was prepared to continue with his part funding of the Irish management team’s salary.

“It is not my job to speak about finance with this man,” he said. “He is always kind. We met also Robert (Finnegan), the chief executive of 3, the main sponsor of the FAI. I give my regards and I am happy they come. If they provide finance for the FAI, it’s important they see our jobs. We are professional men. We understand every situation.

“Also with John Delaney, we understood the FAI’s position and I think he also understood our position. We wanted only clarity on the situation. We wanted to know whether there was a willingness to continue and once we were satisfied with that, which we are now, there was no need for a timeframe (for signing a new deal). We are all responsible, mature people. Now we have clarity. We know that if we had failed to qualify, things might have ended differently. But things are clear now and we have no desire to speed things up.

“They chose us in order to get this result and we gave them the perfect answer. The players answered them too.”

While Trapattoni has said that he doesn’t want to force the issue, it’s expected that the FAI board will discuss the matter as early as next week, meaning that a new two-year deal could be wrapped up before FAI boss Delaney and, more than likely, Trapattoni himself, travel to Kiev for the Euro finals draw on December 2.

With his immediate future apparently secure, Trapattoni was yesterday happy to look forward to next summer and the Euro finals in Poland and Ukraine. “Spain, Italy, Germany, England, the Netherlands — I really want to play these big teams,” he said with relish.

And, with regard to off-the-pitch matters, he has already been giving thought to how best to strike a balance between work, rest and play over the course of a long tournament.

“When I was at the 1962 World Cup in Chile with Italy, we went for 40 days without seeing our families but that was a different time,” he observed. “The habits and psychology were different then. Now, it’s possible for the players to have time to see their wives and families, say after a game for half a day. But when we need to work, we need to stay together. There is not much time between games and we need to use it to attend to every little detail. (People say it’s) a sacrifice? What sacrifice? Football is a game!”

In the build-up to the tournament, Trapattoni plans to hold a training camp in a country outside Ireland and, preferably, close to Poland and Ukraine.

“Austria is near, also Germany,” he said. “Or why not Portugal again? Or Italy. Or Slovenia. We will look at which gives us the best opportunities and where we can play friendly games. For the friendlies, we will look first at the teams that we draw and then we can choose based on what teams are similar. For Spain, we could play another Latin team, for example. There are three or four teams we are looking at already — including England — but they all have to speak to the FAI. It’s also about the location. Whether they want to come here or want us to go there.”

Meantime, the manager was very much the man of the moment in Dublin’s Clarion Airport Hotel before he flew back to Milan yesterday, with members of the public approaching him for autographs and eager to have their photos taken with him.

But Trapattoni, as ever, was anxious to share the credit for Ireland’s much longed-for qualification, stating that Tuesday night’s lap of honour was really for the players and the fans.

On the same theme, he revealed that he and his assistant Marco Tardelli had written a letter of thanks to all the backroom staff, “reminding them that this result was for everyone.”

And the Italian raised a hearty laugh when, in making a special point of thanking video analyst Brian McCarthy for his work, he suddenly came over all Tony Soprano, saying: “I call him two or three times a day, I break his balls looking for more details because the players must see this important work.”

Next up for the tireless Trap is that trip to Kiev, assuming it doesn’t clash with another commitment which he made as a promise if Ireland achieved qualification.

“I think I will be going to Kiev,” he smiled, “but I must also decide when I will go to climb Croagh Patrick.”

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