Last night's appalling draw with Northern Ireland took centre stage on The Stand podcast today, as Eamon Dunphy reassembled the old amigos to pick through another dreary Irish performance. Unsurprisingly, neither John Giles and Liam Brady were enthused or encouraged by the Irish performance, with both agreeing with Dunphy's assertion that it does not augur well for the future.
Giles said that he would not have rewarded O'Neill with a new contract earlier this year, given his flirtation with Stoke and Everton and the 5-1 hammering at home to Denmark. In spite of the fact that O'Neill's salary is no longer funded by the FAI's Honourary Life President, Denis O'Brien, it has been reported that his wage has been increased to €1.9 million per year.
When Dunphy raised the salary, and the amount of money it would cost the FAI to terminate O'Neill's contract prematurely, Brady looked beyond the manager to the FAI's Chief Executive, John Delaney.
You have to look at why that's the case, and this comes back to John Delaney. He's the man making these calls. He might turn around and say that it's the board, but I think everyone knows that John Delaney is in total control there, and he's the one making the calls.
We've had 15 years of John now, since 2003, and I think the only progress that has really happened is that John's career has gone up and up. He is a member of the Executive Committee [of UEFA], but if you look at the Irish situation, I think we've regressed badly. I don't want to go into what Martin O'Neill earns, but we are just not playing well and the enthusiasm for the Irish soccer team is on the wane. Whereas the GAA are on the up and the Irish rugby team is on the up, we are the poor neighbours.
That has happened on John Delaney's watch.
John Giles, however, defended the CEO.
There have been a lot of good things happen on John Delaney's watch. We wouldn't have the Aviva without John Delaney, and we wouldn't have games coming up in the Euros [Dublin's games in Euro 2020] without John Delaney.
I think he made a mistake in January in giving an extension to Martin O'Neill.
You can listen to the podcast in full here.