New FAI deputy chief executive Niall Quinn has refused to dismiss the prospect of Roy Keane returning to work for the organisation.
Speaking on the Late Late Show last night,
All three are championing the idea of the new FAI taking shape, eager to leave behind the past regime linked with John Delaney.
Although Quinn has arrived on an interim basis, and has deferred taking a salary, he’s expected to remain on in a permanent capacity.
Keane had controversially returned to work for Delaney’s FAI in 2013 as Martin O’Neill’s assistant and last week admitted he “really, really missed” the role since the pair were sacked in November 2018.
The duo have not worked in management since a brief stay at Nottingham Forest last season.
“I can’t pick two managers at one time, like happened the last time with Stephen Kenny,” said Quinn referring to the succession arrangement unveiled by Delaney when appointing current boss Mick McCarthy.
“I wouldn’t discount Roy coming back to the FAI but I’m not sure it would happen during the time I’m here there. I find it hard to criticise Roy because not only did he lift a football club at Sunderland but lifted the city."
Keane and Quinn have a chequered history stretching back to the time as teammates in the Ireland squad.
The Corkman branded the striker Mother Theresa in the fallout of the 2002 Saipan debacle but that standoff ended four years later in dramatic fashion as Quinn, upon taking over as Sunderland Chairman, handed Keane his first managerial post.
Good times ensued, with Keane delivering an unlikely promotion in his first season and keeping the Black Cats up in the Premier League at the first attempt. The arrival of Ellis Short as figure of influence, however, changed the dynamic and in December 2008, Keane quit.
Quinn last night highlighted how times have changed.
“I’ve just come from the UCD’s game against Roy’s old club, Cobh Ramblers,” he explained.
“They’re doing great work in Cobh, where the club is now run as a co-operative after changing things around. Their Chairman invited me down to the Cork for an event they’re having. If you’d said to me I’d be going to Cobh after what happened back in Saipan, well…”
The 53-year-old admitted anger creeped in when watching from the outside the mess unfold at the FAI.
In his view, the farcical appearance by Delaney and some his directors at an Oireachtas hearing in April proved the lowest point.
"That day in the Oireachtas where the association went to speak to government was probably one of the poorest parts of football that television has ever had when we watched what went on there.
"That was the moment when I said it was a Banana Republic and that was the moment I said this is anger that I feel."
"It was only really the pain before Christmas when the reality of the actual debt of the FAI, that's when I was like 'Ah here, this is really bad'.
“I’m delighted the transparency and corporate governance has improved. We’ve got 60 development officers out working around the country and I’d like that number to be 200.”