Duff blasts FAI's previous treatment of 'Irish footballing god' Brian Kerr

Duff blasts FAI's previous treatment of 'Irish footballing god' Brian Kerr

Shelbourne manager and former Chelsea player Damien Duff has said the way the FAI treated former Ireland manager Brian Kerr during his Ireland stint in 2005 was a "disgrace."

Kerr led the Republic of Ireland U16, U18, and U20 teams between 1997 and 2003. At the 1997 World Youth Championships, Ireland finished third, with Duff an integral part of the process.

The following year, Kerr guided two of the Irish underage sides to an unprecedented double by winning both the under-16 and under-18 European Championships.

The likes of former Ireland players Richard Dunne, John O'Shea, and Robbie Keane all went on to become fully-fledged stars in England and world football thanks to Kerr's guidance

Shortly after his stint with the underage sides, Kerr took the Ireland senior job after Mick McCarthy. Ireland's 2004 European Championship qualification began with defeats, but they rebounded with victories against Georgia and Albania. However, Ireland did not make it to Euro 2024, and he was eventually replaced by Steve Staunton.

Some years later, Kerr is now back in the Ireland frame and has been appointed as a temporary Technical Advisor to interim Ireland manager John O'Shea for the upcoming home friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland.

Duff, a man who knows him well, was asked by members of the media about the FAI's handling of his departure all those years ago and labelled it a "disgrace." The former Chelsea star also believes nobody will compare to his former manager.

Brian Kerr (C) the Ireland manager issues instructions as he is watched by Mark Kinsella (L) and Lee Carsley during Ireland training at Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland on February 11, 2003. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

"It was terrible, but it doesn't surprise me. He's a football god in this country, and I've said it many times," he said this week.

"The way he was treated was, and is, a disgrace, so that will never be erased. He was treated badly, but he's back for the foreseeable future."

"His knowledge of the game, his knowledge of Irish football, his passion for Irish football... people come and go in the FAI, but nobody will ever touch Brian."

O'Shea has also brought in interim assistant Paddy McCarthy and his former Ireland teammate Glenn Whelan to help out for the games this month. Duff also believes that O'Shea, another of his Ireland peers, will do great for the upcoming Ireland games at the end of the month.

"I'm really fond of John because he's a classy guy; Brian, Paddy, I know them all; Glenn, I will watch an Irish game for the first time in quite a while," he said.

"I'm sure they will do great, as they are all brilliant, brilliant people." Duff added, "I don't know the set-up, but I'd imagine it's all the guys and coaches on the pitch and Brian lending his experience and a quiet word in the background."

"Just having him around; he's one of our greats, and people need to acknowledge it. I think everyone outside of Abbotstown acknowledges it."