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national | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis Saturday October 13, 2012 00:38 by jim travers jim.travers at yahoo dot ie
Ireland loses the plot
We were praying for a miracle but it never materialised. Germany came to Ireland thinking a 1-0 win would be enough to secure its place at the top of the group but found an Irish team just not up for the challenge. After nearly twenty minutes of two touch football all the tell tale signs where there for all to see, we were heading for a complete wipe out. Trap was lost for ideas and the players were just lost. Fifteen minutes before the end of the match I witnessed something I have never seen in an Irish team, they looked lost, dejected and void of any belief in themselves. Has Trap managed his last Irish match or will the FAI continue to whip a dead donkey in hope that the miracle everybody prayed for will will finally come true.
It was a disaster just waiting to happen, nothing more and nothing less. The rot began long before the European Championships and has continued with not a single sign of the problem being properly addressed by Trapattoni. The only good thing we can take from this match is that we cannot go any lower in morale, that’s unless we go to the Faroe Islands next Tuesday and come home with more egg on our chins. Trapattoni was never the man for Ireland, he never was part of the Irish team nor has he ever been an integral part of an Irish scene that helps gel players and supporters together. He has remained an outsider throughout his tenure and has enforced that distance through his inability to speak the language. His staunch refusal to experiment with new players along with his constant excuses for poor performance has left Ireland in a position I have not seen for very many years.
Everything we said about the misdoings of previous Irish managers simply fades into insignificance when it comes to the managerial leadership of Trapatoni. Owen Hand, Jonnie Giles, Mick McCarthy and Stephen Staunton suddenly climb up the ratings for managers who enshrined some belief in the ability of players to reach their potential. In their own individual way they gave hope to the players, which in turn allowed players to use their skill both individually and collectively as a single unit in order to achieve results. There has always been a doubt about Trapattoni, many people were uncertain of his ability to be part of what makes the Irish team simply Irish. If big Jack had of been a square peg in a round hole he still would have fitted better into the Irish system ahead of Trapattoni who appeared on paper and past performance to be just about perfect for the job. There was nothing in this match that one would want to write about. The Germans were not brilliant in any sense of the word but were made to look world class by an Irish team that simply would have done itself justice if it had remained on the training field. But the blame cannot be placed entirely at the door of Trapattoni, the FAI once again must take responsibility for handing Trapattoni another contract without first questioning the direction Trapattoni was taking the Irish team.
In his post match interview Trapattoni appeared lost and void of not only excuses but ideas for the future. The player who caught my attention was Walters, he worked like a work horse right up to the final whistle. He was full of energy and drive from the start of the game to the end of the game. Westwood although allowing six goals pass him could not be blamed in any way for the final result. O’Dea proved without a shadow of a doubt that he is not quite ready to play on the international stage. McGeedy was just McGeedy with spells of brilliance at times but unpredictable more often than less. Apart from our various criticisms of players, everything leads back to the main problem that faces the Irish team- Trapattoni. Can the FAI afford to call it a day with Trapattoni, does it once again have to do yet another about turn and admit it made a mistake in appointing Trap as manager? Unless something like a miracle happens, it will nearly be a foregone conclusion that Ireland will not come out of this group. It is far better the FAI call in Trapattoni and seek his resignation before we slide even further down into the abyss.
I have always said that we do not have players that are world class and capable of taking on the best in the world. That belief was totally shattered when Ireland took on France and nearly booked itself a place in the World Cup. What appeared to be a team comprising average players suddenly and as if magic produced players of world class. This told me that average players can also become great players if the manager is in the right frame of mind to believe in his players.
Rumours that Mick McCarthy may be approached by the FAI to take over form Trapattoni should be taken with a pinch of salt. Mick has improved his managerial skills but Mick had his day and it should be left that way. Roy Keane would make an excellent Irish manager but unfortunately the appointment of Roy Keane would be a bitter pill for the FAI to swallow.
Where do we go from here? Well the only way out of this dilemma is the immediate change of manager combined with new blood not in fluid ounces but in pints. In some way I feel contented that at last the water has finally come to the boil and has simply spilled over. We can either turn off the source for the spillage or we can allow the pot to be burned to destruction. One way or the other, unless something is done sooner rather than later we may just as well resign ourselves to believing that Ireland will not move out of the this group or any other group in the future.