The Republic of Ireland national side look stuck in a firmer rut than that container ship which got lodged in the Suez Canal. It has to be said, Kenny has been attempting to overturn a deep-rooted culture of hoof-and-hope football since he was given reins.
It’s led to a culture war between supporters calling for the former Dundalk boss to be allowed time to implement his style changes and those who believe that results are the be-all and end-all, whatever way they come. However, that conversation took a massive turn when Ireland slumped to a March 2021 1-0 home defeat to minnows Luxembourg in a victory that the visitors to the Aviva Stadium have every right to say they deserved.
It was a result that has legitimate claims to being the worst in Irish football history and has ramped up the pressure on Kenny’s position ever since. But, who could be the next man up to replace Kenny were the axe to fall soon? Well, our punters have been putting their cash behind a former Celtic boss to occupy the hot seat.
That’s right, Neil Lennon saw his price drop in from 14/1 in the betting after punters rushed to back him to take over The Boys In Green. Lennon – who was capped 40 times for Northern Ireland – left Celtic for a second time in February 2021 as their campaign to win a 10th Scottish title in-a-row came completely unstuck as Rangers left them in the dust.
Lennon did win five league crowns and a further five domestic cups in his time in charge of The Bhoys though, and with him being currently available it’s no surprise to see him being a popular choice with our customers to take charge of Ireland.
Former Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane, who served as deputy to Martin O’Neill when the country qualified for Euro 2016, was Paddy’s favourite in the market at one stage. But he may enjoy the luxurious surrounds of the Sky Sports studios and doing podcasts with his mates too much to dive back in to management.
Current assistant coach Keith Andrews features prominently in the betting, but with him being so fresh in his coaching career it would seem unlikely Ireland would turn to someone so inexperienced to replace Kenny given their plight at the moment.
The recently retired Robbie Keane is another intriguing prospect. His 2002 World Cup team-mate Damien Duff is also right up there, and his coaching credentials are certainly more attractive than those of Andrews and Robbie Keane. However, he did leave the Kenny set up in January 2021 for reasons he refused to explain publicly, so he may be hesitant to be brought back under the FAI umbrella again quite so quickly.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce is the first name from outside of Irish shores in the market and with the form of The Magpies lately, he could find himself available without a compensation packet to be negotiated. Interesting, of the foreign options available, Eddie Howe and Sam Allardyce sit on the same odds to be the next leader of The Boys In Green.
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