|Kerr is an accomplished manager|
I found myself accidentally tuning into Brendan O’Connor’s Saturday Night Show last night when I switched the TV on. I caught the introduction which promised interviews with Love Actually star Martine McCutcheon, an African Irish-speaker and most importantly, the former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr.
O’Connor’s style is distinct, but it’s uninspiring and surprisingly even unfunny, considering his background in comedy. Like most chat-show hosts he conveys an undertone of disinterest when interviewing his guests – an undertone that can be detected in his desperate attempts to crack jokes in order to conceal the awkwardness he is surely sensing. But saying that, he was frank in his conversation with Brian Kerr, perhaps as a result of already being familiar with the Dubliner, admitting at the outset that he was ignorant when it came to soccer.
What struck me about the conversation however, was not O’Connor’s demeanour, but the revelations of Kerr, which is either an attestation of O’Connor’s subtle interviewing technique, or Kerr’s down-to-earth honesty. Kerr had a shit-eating-grin on his face for the entirety of the conversation, happily relating in his thick Dublin brogue the experiences he had while managing the Faroe Islands, only lamenting the Faroe Islands’ FA’s decision to hold games in Torshavn rather than Toftir – a place Kerr maintains would be a nightmare for bigger teams to come to (and when you’re the Faroe Islands, almost all teams are “bigger”).
He also dispelled any of the myths that had heretofore been cultivated about his relationship with the FAI. It had earlier been suggested that Kerr’s exit from his job as Republic of Ireland manager had left, to put it mildly, a chip on the Dubliner’s shoulder, but Kerr’s reaction to O’Connor’s probing insinuated that whatever it was then, it was now well and truly water under the bridge.
Crucially, however, when questioned about the Northern Ireland job with which he had been linked and had applied for, Kerr spoke candidly, still smiling heartily as he japed, “Well the IFA are holdin’ interviews, and I’m here sittin’ bein’ interviewed by you!”. Such an admission seems to reflect poorly on the Irish FA, who appeared not to have the courtesy to let applicants know whether they were considered suitable or not. It denotes a lack of respect for Kerr, a man whose managerial record when compared with that of the three candidates that appear to have made the “final shortlist” stands strongly, if it does not eclipse theirs.