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Brennan's brief Frustration grows with Stephen Kenny's ‘My Way or the Highway’ approach


Stephen Kenny is not the first manager to go down that road

Stephen Kenny is not the first manager to go down that road


Stephen Kenny is not the first manager to go down that road

Irish football manager Stephen Kenny has lost two of his coaches in a week. Goalkeeping guru Alan Kelly was very unhappy about the video shown to the Irish team before the England game last November. Damien Duff was very unhappy about the fact that the FAI bothered to have an investigation about all that.

So while one of them may have left the Irish camp because of ‘Videogate’, the other didn’t as they took diametrically opposing views on the issue.

No one, as yet, will go on the record about what is going on - but one thing is becoming clear from the whispers and the guarded conversations, a lot of people around Kenny are unhappy with his ‘My Way or the Highway’ approach.

Now Stephen is not the first Irish manager to go down that road. The greatest Irish boss of all, the late Jack Charlton, was a firm disciple of that policy. Jack exiled the great David O’Leary from the Irish team for two and a half years to make a point about the way Ireland would play.

But then Jack didn’t really need Dave for his team. He had Kevin Moran and Mick McCarthy for centre-half and if either of them were injured, big Jack could whistle up Mark Lawrenson or Paul McGrath.

When Jack cast Liam Brady adrift in 1989, he knew Andy Townsend was ready to come into the team. Jack had class options to cover his stubbornness. Stephen doesn’t.

Two of the most important officers on Kenny's new hand-picked crew have jumped ship, just 11 weeks before Ireland play the most important match of their qualifying campaign – Serbia away.

Portugal (with Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota to name but three) are surely going to win our group. So the battle for a World Cup qualifying play-off slot is between Serbia and the Boys in Green. We have to get a point, minimum, from that game in Belgrade.

Now Ireland’s boss needs coaches to come aboard. The two most often named to replace Duff, John O’Shea and Lee Carsley, are both in full-time jobs, and the struggling FAI may not have the financial firepower to employ them.

What about Stephen really making a statement by bringing aboard one of the two lads the terraces on Lansdowne Road used to call ‘the two Keanos’? Roy is out of the game in terms of club employment, he did the Assistant Manager’s job for Martin O’Neill, he could surely help.

And Robbie is already on the FAI payroll, a holdover from the old regime whose contract was with the FAI, not as part of the Mick McCarthy coaching group.

With a team that can’t score a goal, Stephen doesn’t appear interested in getting some value out of Ireland’s all-time leading goalscorer.

What is it with the two Tallaght lads? Is there a problem because Robbie has stated, publicly, that one day, in the dim and distant future, he would like to manager Ireland? And so Stephen doesn’t want, in that old phrase, ‘a cuckoo in the nest’.

Whatever the issue, Stephen Kenny has not a lucky first ten months in charge of Ireland’s football fortunes. By the end of the next ten months, we will know how the team has fared in World Cup qualifying. To paraphrase the song title – ‘Things Have Got To Get Better’.

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Online Editors