Relations between the FAI and Brian Kerr have been strained further after the former Ireland manager angrily rejected an offer to become a “media watchdog” for the association.
Kerr led Ireland to an historic Euro double triumph in 1998 with his U16 and U18 squads but was ostracised under the regime of John Delaney.
The former chief executive was only a few months into his role in 2005 when he sacked Kerr from the senior job, removing entitlements such as match tickets for home internationals. Senior figureheads such as Liam Brady and Damien Duff had hit out at Kerr’s exclusion from the game.
Since Delaney’s demise began in March, tentative efforts from within Abbotstown to rebuild bridges with Kerr after 14 years as an outsider have been underway. It appears those botched attempts have succeeded in only worsening the situation, albeit the current pundit is loyal enough to the game to consider joining the FAI’s new football management committee if he is asked.
He, however, won’t be dealing with the association’s caretaker general manager Noel Mooney. The pair had a brief verbal exchange last month before the contact switched to email.
“Noel, from his seat three rows back from me at a St Patrick’s Athletic game last month, said he was disappointed that I wasn’t going to the presentations by Niall Quinn and Kieran Lucid to League of Ireland clubs. I said I wasn’t available.
Then I got two emails off that were just baffling. It was off the wall stuff. When I got the second one, I asked him not to contact me anymore.
“He had suggested that I may have a role being a media watchdog for the FAI in the future. I actually replied to him by saying I don’t understand what a media watchdog is but it sounds like something from the Soviet era.
“I don’t really care if it’s public or private but he also suggested that, as Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley had found common ground in Northern Ireland, that maybe myself and the FAI could.
“It was bizarre. I replied by saying I’d appreciate it if you didn’t contact me anymore, ever again, in relation to the FAI.”
In response, the FAI last night issued the following statement: “The FAI can confirm that general manager Noel Mooney recently made contact with Brian Kerr – after they had met briefly at a League of Ireland game - in an effort to bring Brian back into the football family.
“He contacted Brian, by a private email, offering to meet for a coffee to ‘understand your views on how Irish football can perform better’. We are disappointed that these private emails have made their way into the public domain.
“However, the association is receptive to Brian Kerr being involved in its key objective of the promotion and development of football in Ireland.”
Mooney’s efforts came on the back of attempts for the FAI to have Kerr as their guest at the U17 Euro finals they hosted in May.
Still, the FAI’s President Donal Conway, whom Kerr knew from his spell as technical directors assisting his schools sector, hasn’t held out an olive branch.
“I had two rather haphazard approaches, the first from a recently-appointed commercial employee who didn’t understand the history of the situation. I told him I’d be going to the matches on my own steam. I wouldn’t be sitting in the posh seats and providing any solace to the FAI in their time of need.
“Then there was a strange one. I got a call from John O’Shea, the tournament ambassador, who been asked by the security officer of the FAI to see if I’d like to attend any of the matches. I was completely taken aback by that one.”
Meanwhile, John Giles has distanced himself from a €300,000 payment made by the FAI to Con Martin. Although he admitted the “Walk of Dreams and John Giles Foundation” concept was proposed to the FAI, he denies Martin had any involvement in the running of the Trust.
“Any arrangements Mr Martin had, or claims to he had, with the FAI, had nothing to do with me or the Foundation,” said Giles in a prepared statement read out on Newstalk 106.
I can only say that for my part, I never agreed or authorised any arrangements or payments of any type to Mr Martin.
“Although it was stated in the Sunday Times article that I was a pal of Mr Martin, this is not correct. At one stage, I considered him a friend, but I had a serious falling out with him a number of years ago and I have not considered him a friend since then.”