Opinion: The FAI's hunt for new Ireland boss is a joke, the joy of an announcement is gone

Opinion: The FAI's hunt for new Ireland boss is a joke, the joy of an announcement is gone

The FAI's long-drawn-out search for a new Irish football boss is nothing short of a joke, and the excitement of whoever it may be will not feel the same when that person is officially announced this month. It is not unfair to feel sorry for fans of the Irish football team who want clarity on the situation.

Since the sacking of Stephen Kenny in November, names have been linked and unlinked within days and hours, and it's fair to say the whole process has been an absolute farce.

For example, former Ireland player and current England U-21 boss Lee Carsley was linked to the role, unlinked, and linked again, and finally, the rumour was put to bed by Carsley himself.

Gus Poyet, the current Greece boss, admitted he admired the Irish fans and would be interested in the role, and Carsley wasn't in contention anymore.

Anthony Barry, the former Ireland coach, was backed to fill the vacant Ireland manager role. He's currently 1/2 with the bookies, and now reports have claimed he wouldn't be interested in the Ireland gig.

These are three names that have been linked, and they don't include the likes of Willy Sagnol and John O'Shea Roy Keane, Neill Lennon, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Chris Houghton, Chris Coleman, Sam Allardyce, and many others.

The search for a new boss has had so many stumbling blocks along the way since Stephen Kenny was sent on his merry way by the FAI in November, and although reports say that the endpoint is close, many, including myself, don't buy into FAI director of football Marc Canham's claims that the search is near its climax.

Dublin , Ireland - March 4, 2024; Newly appointed interim head coach John O'Shea and FAI director of football Marc Canham, right, during a Republic of Ireland press conference at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

After three months of no full-time boss, the FAI placed former player John O'Shea in the role on a temporary basis. When asked about any update about the Ireland boss search, Canham said in February, “It’ll just be the same response; the process is ongoing, and we hope to conclude that as soon as possible. As I’ve said, it’s a confidential process. We have run a very tight process."

February passed, and no Irish boss was in place or named, to nobody's surprise.

The saga rumbled on, and Canham was asked again in March and claimed the FAI planned to install a new Ireland boss in early April, with only “existing contractual obligations” holding up the announcement due to “existing contractual obligations" last month.

The FAI has now claimed this month that they still plan to bring someone in for their "early April" date as proposed. "We’re really near the end of the process, and that’s confidential, so I can’t answer the question directly, unfortunately, but we are really at the advanced stage of the process. For different practical reasons, including contracts, we can’t confirm that until early April," said the FAI.

Obviously, the FAI cannot come and say, "We are going to hire Gus Poyet," to the public, but a more streamlined process and a quicker outcome wouldn't go amiss. It's been six months of gossip and nonsense when it really should have been done in early February. It's not unfair to take the FAI's "early April" comments with a pinch of salt.

Whatever happens, and whoever it may be, Irish fans will wish the person who gets it well when the games come thick and fast, but the FAI's inability to add clarity and get its house in order is a sad indication of the organisation.

The saga may come to an end next week, and who knows if it will? But many people who had a low opinion of the FAI for its past misdeeds will think even less of the Irish football body when the saga does come to an end. It's not good enough.

Despite it all, let's hope that the FAI can finally get their man and put us all out of our misery.

Follow the writer on @ConorDunIP on X