BY BRYAN WHITE
LOVE, like or loathe him, the title of Ireland’s second most successful manager is something you can’t argue with.
Mick McCarthy, who is only bettered by Jack Charlton as Ireland’s must successful manager, will have a chance to write himself into Irish football history yet again if he can lead the boys in green to the 2020 European Championships.
If McCarthy – announced as Ireland’s new manager and taking over from Martin O’Neill – can do that, and get Ireland to the Euros, he will be rewarded by home games at the Aviva Stadium in the competition.
But the bigger question remains – is he the right man for the job?
When you look at any manager you have to take consideration of what has they done in management – have they left the team in a better position then when they got it, what success have they enjoyed, what have they won, etc?
Well, what McCarthy achieved with Ireland in his first stint was something special. He led us to two play-offs for major competitions, World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000. He went one better in 2002 when he guided Ireland to the World Cup.
We all know what happened between him and Roy Keane and that infamous Saipan incident, but what people forget was that only for some terrible penalty taking, Ireland would have made it through to a World Cup quarter-final.
A couple of bad results later plus the criticism over his handling of the Roy Keane debacle meant that McCarthy’s time in charge came to an end. He went back to club management where he led Sunderland to an FA Cup semi-final while they were still in the Championship. The following season, McCarthy won the championship with Sunderland. When his time finished there, he took over at Wolves and guided them to the Championship title and he then kept them in the Premier League for two seasons.
With Ipswich, they narrowly missed out on promotion in his first season and led them to two solid mid-table Championship campaigns. It’s what happens to teams when they let McCarthy go that makes for interesting reading. Wolves failed to win any of their Premier League games after McCarthy left, leading them to be relegated. The following season they were relegated from the championship. Ipswich are now at the bottom of the Championship.
Even after McCarthy left Ireland they went through two unsuccessful managers in Brian Kerr and Steve Staunton. Ireland still haven’t reached a World Cup since McCarthy left.
McCarthy is the right man for the job. You just have to look at his resume to see what he has achieved. It also makes perfect sense for him to agree this two-year term.
There are 24 places in Euro 2020. All Ireland have to do is finish in the top three of their group to, at least, get a play off spot.
McCarthy is the man to get Ireland up and running again, instil some belief in their players and lead to us to some better days.
Bryan White is a transition year student at Kinsale Community School and is on work experience with The Southern Star.