herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Roy and I have forgotten about Saipan - Delaney

Roy Keane and John Delaney have put the past behind them and are now on "good terms", according to the FAI boss.

Delaney, who has just signed a €1.8m deal to stay over the administration of Irish football until 2020, said it was time to move on from the past.

The football duo reconciled their differences after Ireland manager Martin O'Neill appointed Keane as his number two.

"When Martin agreed to become manager of the Irish team last October he said to me he wanted to bring in Roy as his assistant.

"I said I had absolutely no problem with that," explained Delaney.

The two are currently so close that they sit and discuss the Irish squad over tea and biscuits.

"I think the most important thing was we didn't dwell on the past. All three of us had the same objective - to look forward for the good of Irish football," he added.

Keane and Delaney weren't on speaking terms after the Saipan World Cup in 2002, when Roy quit the squad after a spat with the then manager, Mick McCarthy.

It was O'Neill who played mediator between the pair on the first day of talks.

"After a quick chat, Martin asked if either of us wanted to say something. I volunteered to do it. It only took 30 seconds.

"I just said we won't live in the past, we'll learn from it and I wanted the three of us to work together for our country," said Delaney.

Roy (inset) was then asked if he agreed with what the Waterford man had said, and according to Delaney he simply replied "absolutely".

The FAI chief executive said that Keane is adamant not to abandon his country or the squad.

"Even recently, Roy came in to meet me about going to Villa," Delaney said.

He decided that it was possible for Keane to take on the assistant manager position at the Premiership club, as well as working with the Irish senior team.

But the former player insisted that the boss needed to be happy with the situation.

"He [Roy] was very fair. He said 'If you are not comfortable with this, I'm going to stay with Ireland'," Delaney added.

hnews@herald.ie

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