Five candidates to take over from Martin O’Neill as Ireland manager

Could an inanimate carbon rod ACTUALLY do a better job than MO'N? There's only one way to find out...


Update, 12:50 November 21st: This piece was written before Martin O’Neill’s resignation. And look, we’re not saying it’s ALL thanks to us that he’s leaving…

Eventually, every football manager either (a) sees their contract run out, (b) resigns, or (c) gets the sack.

Martin O’Neill’s contract with Ireland runs to 2020, so there’s a fair way to go if we’re to wait for (a) to come around, and also means there’s not much chance of (b) happening, as O’Neill is – understandably – unlikely to pass up nearly two full years worth of salary.

Which leaves us with (c), an option that is increasingly being, if not called-for, then at least hoped-for, among Ireland’s football fans and media. Given the reportedly precarious position of the FAI and the national team manager’s contract no longer being subsidised by Denis O’Brien, we don’t reckon the association are going to shell out a severance package for O’Neill. So, likeliness is we’re all stuck with Martinball until 2020.

Still, you can’t blame a supporter for dreaming. So we whipped up a quick handful of potential candidates who we fancy would do a better job at the helm than the incumbent if they were dropped into the job right this minute.

A dream team of Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Dominic Raab

This trio have done more than anyone in history to further the cause of a united Ireland, what with them plunging Great Britain and Northern Ireland into a potentially unprecedented social, economic and political maelstrom.

So what better way for them to contribute even more to Irish life than to take over the national side?

They have a track record in being absolutely terrible at their job, which pretty much fits what Ireland expects from its international managers, with a few notable exceptions.

At the very least, you know that every time the Boys In Green exit a tournament in miserable fashion, these three won’t hang around to find out what happens next, thereby saving the FAI an absolute fortune in pay-offs.

Inanimate carbon rod

One thing you can be sure about when it comes to inanimate carbon rod as Ireland manager: the tactics will improve.

Moreover, inanimate carbon rod has been to space, and once won the prestigious Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Worker of the Week award. These are not achievements that Martin O’Neill can boast.

In Rod We Trust.

Diego Armando Maradona

Jesus. That’d be some craic.

We can see it now. Half-time in a vital Nations League fixture to avoid relegation to League D. Ireland are 4-0 down at home to Liechtenstein and Diego still hasn’t appeared.

A search party comprised of Noel King, John Delaney and Jason McAteer are frantically combing the streets of Temple Bar. Finally, they discover Diego soundly and peacefully asleep in the doorway of Bad Bob’s. He is roused from his slumber with a jar of smelling salts McAteer always keeps handy and rapidly taxied to the Aviva.

He storms through the dressing room door screaming about ‘cojones’ and ‘corazon’. The lads are inspired and Ireland bounce back to win 5-4, with Shane Duffy nodding in all five from corner kicks. Sadly, Ireland are still eliminated due to Outer Djibouti’s superior goal difference.

Steve Staunton

He’s the boss.

He’s the gaffer.

He couldn’t possibly do any worse than last time. Could he?

Brian Kerr

Well, er, this one’s actually serious. He’d probably do a bang-up job, probably because he’s one of the two or three people to have heard of every single one of the current squad.

I mean, Shaun Williams anyone? Anyone? Brian Kerr probably knows the names of the man’s goldfish and what he got for Christmas in 2012.

Never should have been let go in the first place.

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What do you think?