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'You Couldn't Leave The Hotel, There Were 20,000 Fans Outside Drinking'

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Damien Duff looks back now and can see where Roy Keane was coming from when he raised hell in Saipan 15 years ago.

Speaking on Eamon Dunphy's podcast 'The Stand', Duff said that back then he and several other players were just babies and didn't know any better.


Duff told a story of a man - somewhere in his 70s or 80s - turning up in a fire engine of a similar vintage to stand in the middle of the car park-like pitch and water it - 'You couldn't make it up, it would be a comedy sketch on a show'.

10 years after Saipan and Duff could still see problems with the FAI's organisation of facilities for major international tournaments. The 37-year-old says the Irish team hotel for Euro 2012 was in the middle of an area he compared to party destination Ayia Napa.

The FAI have an awful lot of previous with hotels and logistics and stuff. Saipan, there's a lot of other stuff I could mention.

Sopot, the hotel at Euro 2012 was in the middle of... like Ayia Napa. You couldn't leave the hotel, there were 20,000 fans outside drinking. So we were cooped up there for two or three weeks. That's 10 years later and you're still coming up against the same faults.

I see it now where Roy was coming from. I'm older, wiser and I've got standards. I didn't find that [Sopot] acceptable.

Duff could see improvements in the FAI's organisation recently, particularly last summer for Euro 2016.

Last summer, they were staying in a palace in Versailles, so maybe we finally got there. Things are done well.

Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE



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