Only a Game? - Arrivederci and grazie mille Trap!
It was dark and it was raining outside the PGE Arena in Gdansk in northern Poland after I watched Ireland lose 4-0 to Spain at Euro 2012. A text came through on my phone - ‘who the hell is Paul Green?,’ it read.
The aforementioned text message was from a friend back home who does not regard himself as an Ireland fan; he has objectivity on his side, I thought.
Paul Green, who was unattached to any club during part of Euro 2012, replaced Glen Whelan in the second half against the Spaniards.
Also on the bench that night was Derry man Darron Gibson. Gibson, who was one of Everton’s best players last season, plays in the English Premiership, he is a product of the Manchester United youth academy but for some reason Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni opted for a player who, at the time, didn’t have a club. It just didn’t make sense.
But despite the horror show that was Euro 2012, many Ireland fans, myself included, gave Trapattoni the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because since taking over from Steve Staunton in 2008 he had made following Ireland enjoyable again.
Under Trapattoni, the ‘Boys in Green’ have put on some of the finest displays in recent memory - the World Cup 2010 play-off against France in Paris perhaps the most memorable of games.
Trapattoni missed out on World Cup 2010 qualification by the skin of his teeth but the fun didn’t stop there, he led the team to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Ireland peaked under Trapattoni in 2010 and since that night in Paris it’s been a steady slow decline.
Sure, some will point to the performance against Russia in Moscow last year but Ireland fans owe that night to Richard Dunne and Shay Given, not Trapattoni.
When Ireland secured Trapattoni as manager back in 2008 fans couldn’t believe it.
Let’s put aside recent Ireland results for one moment, Giovanni Trapattoni is without question one of football’s most successful and talented managers.
He has won trophies in almost every country he has managed but unfortunately nothing lasts forever.
The Rolling Stones are no where near as good as they were back in the 60s, Robert De Niro hasn’t made a good movie in years and Trapattoni is no longer the man to lead the Republic of Ireland.
Sometimes supporting your team through thick and thin is admirable but this cannot come at the expense of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
I can understand why some might hesitate to call for Trapattoni to be sacked - he is, after all, the most qualified and experienced manager ever to coach Ireland but like the magnificent Rolling Stones and the exceptionally gifted Robert De Niro, Trapattoni is not the man he used to be.
Like I said, the performances in Poland left me very disillusioned as a fan but the last two displays against Kazakhstan and, more recently, against Germany on Friday night, are unforgivable - Trapattoni has to go.
Ireland fans were told that they would see big changes for the World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan but they didn’t.
The record books will say that Ireland won that game 2-1 but if truth be told, it might have been more constructive had they lost and perhaps Trapattoni would have been sacked weeks ago; Ireland are ranked 28th in the FIFA world rankings, Kazakhstan are joint 147th with the Philippines. But again, the most understanding of fans stuck with Trapattoni because three points were in the bag and if they improved against Germany all would be forgiven but they didn’t.
Friday’s 6-1 defeat to Germany was the worst I have ever witnessed as an Ireland supporter and anyone using injuries as an excuse is only deceiving themselves.
Friday night was a watershed moment for the Giovanni Trapattoni era - not only has he lost the trust and respect of several of his players, perhaps more importantly, he has lost the trust of the majority of the fans.
John Giles spoke sense after Friday’s defeat. Giles said that many of Trapattoni’s chickens had come home to roost and he’s completely right.
Since 2010 Trapattoni has made too many tactical and player selection errors and they are now coming back to haunt him.
Opting for Simon Cox instead of James McClean, not giving Seamus Coleman a chance and not attending games to observe players is not the way to go about coaching a national team.
Trapattoni’s contract runs until the end of the World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign so if the FAI decide to sack him they’ll have to pay him compensation.
Some fans are saying that the FAI don’t have the money to compensate Trapattoni but if they seriously want fans to come and support the team against the likes of the Faroe Island and Kazakhstan in the Aviva Stadium they need to find the money quick, otherwise they’re decision to stick with Trapattoni will have been very short sighted.
Who will replace him when he goes? Personally, I’d be delighted to see Mick McCarthy back again but the more delusional fan is suggesting Roy Keane. Roy Keane? Really? If Roy Keane was made Ireland manager I imagine what would ensue would be the same if Freddy Krueger was put in charge of nursery school - absolute carnage.
However, it’s time to bid arrivederci to Trapattoni but don’t forget to say grazie mille for all the good memories...
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Derry
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 28 mph
Wind direction: North