Despite leading to Ireland to a first major championships in ten years and a first European Championships in twenty, Giovanni Trapattoni looks unlikely to see his side reach the World Cup in Rio in 2014.
This at least is the view of the bookies with Ladbrokes holding little faith in the Italian as they offer a measly 1/2 on Trapattoni not being in charge when the final qualifier takes place. Those with more faith in the wily old Italian may be tempted to have a punt on him being around when Ireland play their final qualifying game of this campaign.
While many football fans in this country will be glad to see the back of Trapattoni along with the rigid systems and negative football associated with the Italian, the sad reality of the Irish international football scene is highlighted by the list of potential replacements for Trap. Ladbrokes make the second coming of Mick McCarthy the most likely prospect should Trap leave at 5/1.
Although McCarthy had great success with Ireland last time around, his club record since is hardly stellar, an abysmal relegation season with Sunderland and more recently being sacked for Wolves although Terry Connors inept performance for the remainder of the season suggested the Wolves board were too hasty in their actions.
Following McCarthy in the betting are Chris Hughton and Marco Tardelli at 6/1. Hughton did an excellent job at Newcastle before being unceremoniously removed by Mike Ashley in favour of Alan Pardew. Subsequent results have vindicated Ashley’s choice. This is not to demean Hughton’s achievements, who also did well with Birmingham and is currently trying to turn around Norwich’s season. The Premier League howeer is a fickle business and if results do not improve soon, he may find himself being ushered out the door at Carrow Road.
If Tardelli got the job, many would feel that the appointment would merely be a continuation of Trapattoni’s beliefs and systems. Another former part of the current coaching set up is also amongst the favourites as Liam Brady is rated a 12/1 shot to become the next Irish head honcho as is David O’Leary. Both were superb players but neither has being involved in the top job for a long time. As was seen with Kenny daglish last year, the football clock waits for no-one and serious questions regarding the F.A.I’s ambition would be raised were they to employ one of these candidates.
Roy Keane makes his obligatory appearance on the betting shortlist at 20/1 yet once again the Corkman’s excellence is associated with on field actions, not those in the technical area.
While many football supporters in this country long for a new manager, it is worth examining the potential replacements before demanding Trap’s head on a stick.