And with that, Stephen Kenny is the new Ireland manager.
The FAI bowed to the inevitable and bid adieu to Mick McCarthy at the weekend, their hand forced by John Delaney’s fudging of Martin O’Neill’s replacement back in 2018 which left Ireland with not one but two men under contract to coach the national team.
🎥 Stephen Kenny speaks publicly for the first time since being announced as Ireland manager
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) April 5, 2020
While Big Mick had the experience of managing Ireland at a World Cup, and Wolves and Sunderland during (less than lengthy) stays in the Premier League, Kenny’s only tenure at the head of a club outside the League of Ireland came at Dunfermline Athletic in Scotland.
While this may put some Premier League noses out of joint in the Ireland squad – yes, we do have some players still plugging away in the top-flight – we’re sure Stephen can convince them he belongs in the boss’ chair at whatever prefab the FAI have to move into once the banks foreclose on their offices.
And here are a few ways to make sure they get the message:
1 – Bling
If there’s one thing top-level footballers appreciate more than “tekkers”, it’s the accumulation of material wealth and goods.
Frankly, it would be a fatal error to ignore the potential cred you can garner from draping yourself in gold jewellery, sticking some pink alloys on your FAI-provided Hummer, or whatever second-hand motor they can afford, and don’t skimp on the little things.
If you turn up to your first training session without a designer washbag, you’re toast First impressions last.
2 – Beats
We’re not going to suggest you pretend to like whatever music you’re players are into, but it’s vitally important you look like you enjoy music in the right way.
Forget two-quid earbuds from Dealz, you’ve got to turn up to Ireland games with Beats by Dre, Sennheiser, or something that screams “I spent an average month’s wages on these headphones”.
Not only will you be able to enjoy the classic stylings of Smokie’s Greatest Hits or whatever in glorious stereo, but you can also cancel out the noise if Roy Keane randomly turns up to deliver a pep talk all the lads in the physio room. Bliss.
Emmanuel Frimpong's stats for Arsenal this season. STAY DENCH or JOIN BARNSLEY. pic.twitter.com/RUNujM1jAI
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 31, 2014
3 – Brand
But it’s not just about you wearing other brands – you must become one yourself.
Establishing SK Leisure as a leading sportswear and casualwear brand should be the first item on the agenda when you’re in the door.
Sure, it might seem ridiculous and tacky to stick a logo on any piece of tat, but #Dench will resonate through the ages.
4 – Barbers
Part of establishing yourself as a football personality is fixing your image. Kevin Keegan’s perm. Ruud Gullit’s dreadlocks. Roberto Baggio’s ponytail. These are haircuts that echo through the ages and established these players as the Alpha Dogs in any dressing room.
Having your own stylist ready to fly out for an impromptu Arturo Vidal-style mohawk when the players are starting to lose the faith is essential at the top-level these days. Look good, feel good, play good.
5 – Ball
Or maybe the players can take not of your teams. Multiple league titles leading to impressive performances in European competitions and a conveyor belt of talented players moving on to better things, as well as getting the Ireland U-21 side spanking sides they traditionally get hockeyed by.
And if that doesn’t impress some players, maybe the under-21s can be promoted to the senior squad.