Joe Royle Column

NO doubt I shall be talking with the new Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr in the near future when he calls me to talk about Matt Holland. I have never met him before and don't really know too much about him so I look forward to hearing from him.

NO doubt I shall be talking with the new Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr in the near future when he calls me to talk about Matt Holland. I have never met him before and don't really know too much about him so I look forward to hearing from him.

I know Bryan Hamilton, who was very involved in the selection process, very well and I know that they were very professional in their interviews.

It seemed to be going down the road towards Bryan Robson, who could have guaranteed the return of Roy Keane to the fold, and Peter Reid who is a proven exceptional motivator.

Brian Kerr has a pure coaching background that has been successful with the young players so from that point there will be a certain amount of continuity with those coming through.

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Ireland have had two high-profile English managers and only time will tell whether they have gone the right way this time, and that will be down to results.

Brian's first and big test will come very quickly when he is asked to make a decision on Roy Keane.

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Roy is an exceptional player, one of the greatest in the past decade, with a hunger to win and be successful, which has sometimes taken him into dangerous areas, but nevertheless a player every manager would have in his team.

Equally, I feel Mick McCarthy had no choice but to send him home from the World Cup because the team is all-important – as I constantly tell the players here at Ipswich.

While you can sometimes cater for the individual, you can't have individuals running things. I don't perhaps know the full story but enough has emerged for me to think Mick had no choice.

Now that Mick has resigned, Ireland may see it as a way of getting their best player back into the fold.

In politics a day is as long or as short as you want it to be and if Brian turns round today and says that is in the past, we start with a clean slate, then it could be easy for him.

Or he could continue with the view that after what happened then there is no way Roy can ever play for the Republic again.

This will be Brian's first test as a manger and he has to deal with it and deal with it quickly.

Every manager would deal with the situation differently but I would get it out of the way as soon as possible.

I'm not sure how Roy will react to Brian, who has never played at any level, we will have to see.

There is no set formula to be a manager. Some have come through high on the coaching side, like Howard Wilkinson for example, then there are those like myself who have a playing pedigree and a man-management side.

There is no right or wrong way to get it done; it is whatever gets the job done.

If he has the respect of those players he has brought through, and can gain the respect of the senior players like Matt, then he won't have a


And, of course, he is pure Irish so that will go down well with the patriots.

They, just like English fans, would love to win the World Cup with one of their own as manager.

EVERYONE knows that Ipswich have spawned two England managers, which is somewhat remarkable and I have been asked if I would like one day to be the third.

I honestly don't know. I would like to think that Ipswich will be my final club job, mind you I thought that at Everton and Manchester City. I have another two and a half years left on my contract here and fully intend to see that through but after that who knows.

International management has been more successful for more senior managers. The day-to-day running is not so obvious; it is more about tactics and organisation and team selection.

It should be the job every manager aspires to and I'm a patriot.

Not many people know this but I have come close to being an international manager myself – a couple of times with England and once with Northern Ireland.

I was on a shortlist of three to get the England manager's job when I was at Oldham. I declined because I felt I had too much to do as a club manager and I was only 39. I didn't want to absolve myself of the day-to-day responsibility of running a team.

Then, not long after I had got the Everton job, I was asked if I was interested in applying but the answer was no.

I did enjoy being the England Under-21 coach for three games under Graham Taylor, especially as we won all three games.

The chance to manage Northern Ireland also came my way and I was interviewed but I told them that it wasn't for me. They were great people and the interview went swimmingly but I looked at the squad and I didn't feel we could win enough games to get the job satisfaction.

Sammy McIlroy took the job in the end and he is now seeing some good young players coming through like David Healy.

It is a shame that the national job in England, which is the pinnacle of any manager's ambition, carries so many bad things with it, such as the complete invasion of your privacy, it is not the job it should be.

Sven-Goran Eriksson is now finding out that as much as Italy has to satisfy the appetite of five or six daily sports papers, his private life is not invaded as it is here.

I wasn't for or against Sven getting the job but it was a terrible

indictment that we couldn't find the right Englishman who wanted it.

It shows what a hot potato the job has become and we saw the way Graham Taylor, Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson have all been treated badly while doing the job by certain sections of the Press. It is sad that they showed no respect.

Expectations are high in this country, geographically we have no right to win the World Cup but it is


I was as disappointed as anyone was when we went out of the World Cup but after losing to Germany at home when we were dismal, just

getting there was incredible.

I was working for the BBC but I wouldn't have covered the final if England got there – but I did have tickets just in case, there is no way I was going to miss that.

THE much-lauded transfer window has been predictably quiet with Matthew Upson and Robbie Fowler, who will complete his transfer today, the only big money moves.

Those apart, our Jamie Clapham at £1.3m initially, is going to be among the top three or four deals done and that is another indication how the wake up call to football has arrived.

Clubs now are starting to treat their finances as they would a

business instead of an emotive search for the Holy Grail.

This is the first year of the

transfer window but that is

coincidental, I still feel there would have been few purchases done this season because money is so tight.

The good thing though is we will come out the other end with a stronger, healthier set of football clubs in financial terms. It may take another year or even two years but they will be leaner. Clubs will gear their salaries to their football income instead of gambling on Premiership money and Nationwide money.

Not everyone will realise it at the moment but we will be in a better state in the long run.

WILLIE Donachie and I took some ribbing from the lads about the montage of us as Oscar and Felix, the Odd Couple, which was in the column last week, but it was all in good fun.

Felix and I went to the pictures to see Gangs of New York earlier in the week and I wish we hadn't – it wasn't for me.

Nor was I interested in the SuperBowl, even though I know the presenter Gary Imlach a little as his dad was a coach at Everton with me.

Really, I don't have much interest away from football as it becomes all enveloping, and my exercise these days come from walking the Labradors down the beach.

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