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Time's Running Out For Stan
Having made wrong decisions in Bratislava and Prague, Steve Staunton has three games to save his job.
Tony Cascarino, 27 Sep 2007
In any discussion concerning Steve Staunton’s future, it’s worth pointing out that he was given a four-year contract by the FAI who didn’t necessarily expect Ireland to qualify for Euro 2008, but wanted to see clear signs that we’re capable of making it to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Unless the performances in our last three group games against Germany, Cyprus and Wales are significantly better, I’m afraid Steve will have to be sacked. Unlike Brian Kerr’s time in charge, which started off reasonably well and ended awfully, Ireland have improved during the course of this campaign, but only slightly which won’t satisfy John Delaney and his cronies.
It pains me to say it because Stan’s a good friend of mine, but his decision-making last week was poor. The questions that have to be asked are:
Why, after he was so lacking against Slovakia, did he stick with Aiden McGeady for the second game? He was like a Playstation footballer running into people and losing the ball.
Why wasn’t Stephen Kelly switched from right to left-back and John O’Shea from left to right so that they were playing in their preferred positions?
Why, of all the people he had on the bench, did he choose Gibson and Douglas to come on late against Slovakia? I think it’s wrong to bring your attackers off when you’ve only got a 1-0 lead, but if that’s what you opt for, you don’t replace them with two international novices. As soon as they came on we started giving the ball away, which led to our undoing. Come the FAI meeting in November to decide Stan’s future, you can be sure those substitutions will be thoroughly discussed.
I know he got sent-off against the Czechs, but not starting Stephen Hunt in either game was another mistake. Jack Charlton used the “he’s better coming off the bench” accusation against me, which was as wrong then as it is now in relation to Steve, who’s been a superb 90-minute man for Reading.
He’s 5ft 3”, so he’s not going to come on and terrorise defences like Peter Crouch.