There is growing confusion amid Ireland’s build-up to their do-or-die Euro 2020 (in, err, 2021) qualification playoff game with Slovakia as no one is sure who’s buying the cans on Thursday evening.
With the Football Association of Ireland CEO position yet to be filled by a permanent appointee following John Delaney’s departure, the travelling party are in disarray over who’ll supply the traditional rake of cans in Slovakia following the Waterford man’s exit.
John Delaney no longer chief of the FAI.
We can only hope his replacement has a similar generosity of heart when it comes to buying cans for the lads in lieu of doing any actual good work. pic.twitter.com/vcrpIvWTVS
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 23, 2019
“If there was one thing you could count on John for, it was a big bag of cans,” said one official.
“Bags of cans. Bags. And some song about dying for Ireland. He was a great man for the songs about the dying for Ireland and that,” chimed in another.
Though the offer of a slab of Linden Village to Sepp Blatter in the wake of Thierry Henry’s handball failed to secure the 33rd spot at to 2010 World Cup in South Africa, superstar administrator Delaney established an unbreakable bond with Irish supporters later that year by buying cans for a train full of fans on the way to Zilina for a crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against the Slovaks.
However, with the association turned upside-down by events of recent years, there’s little hope of even a flagon being shared among the few Irish staff and officials who’ll be in attendance at Thursday’s game.
“We’re so broke you’d be afraid to claim a breakfast roll back on expenses, never mind a train’s worth of drink,” one source explained.
“Who’s putting their hand in their pocket, or anyone else’s, for the cans here? With the way things are. you’d be lucky to get a bottle of Buckfast to split between us.”
On the pitch, Ireland will be without Seamus Coleman for the crucial game after he suffered an injury at the weekend.
“It’s a big loss for us as Seamus has been playing so well,” manager Stephen Kenny said. “Plus, he promised James Rodriguez would come along with him and bring his boots for a game if we needed him, so obviously that’s a disappointment too.”
Rodriguez’s no-show could open up a place for Andy Reid to return to the Ireland fold.
The former Forest man has been practising Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” all week and is said to be confident of remembering all the lyrics for the singsong this time.
“I missed a verse and that was it for me with Trappatoni. He lost it and I never got back in the squad,” the midfielder said. “It won’t happen again.”
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