Having lifted the League of Ireland title a staggering nine-times in his life-time (five as a player and four as a manager), Dermot Keely is in a better position than most to comment on the current health of domestic football.
Sixty-four-years-young and still as passionate and outspoken on League of Ireland football as ever, the former Irish Sun Sport columnist parted these shores for the sunnier climbs of Lanzarote in 2017. Setting up his own venture, a sports bar in the sun, Keely still keeps a close eye on Irish football matters with droves of League of Ireland fans visiting Keely’s new business since the taps were turned on. Encouraged to bring League of Ireland jerseys and memorabilia to deck out the new bar in typical flamboyant Dermot Keely fashion, the business has been a roaring success.
As a football manager turned business man, Keely was asked for his take on the latest financial meltdown at Bray as the former Shelbourne boss appeared on the Between the Stripes LOI podcast One-Year Anniversary Super Show. While earlier guest Alan Cawley had been highly critical of the owners of Bray Wanderers, Keely took aim in a slightly different direction as the Dundalk legend turned his attentions to the FAI’s role in awarding Bray Wanderers a license to compete this season.
“You’ll probably cut me off in the middle of this but the FAI don’t care about us, they only care about the national team.”
Going on to talk about the positive turn of fresh outside investment coming into Irish clubs, Keely again unloaded on the powers that be.
“The people running our league are asleep and have been for many years. The people coming in at Dundalk (Peak 6) see something in our league as do the Saudi group in Galway but the people running our league don’t see anything.”
With talks of a new “hybrid” system of co-operation involving the league clubs themselves and the FAI in terms of running the league going forward, Keely was asked if he preferred a potential merger deal or if the twenty league clubs should in fact break away totally from the FAI.
“Hybrid Model? That’s like having a Mercedes in the front and a Mini in the back, I would break away. However, we can’t go back to the clubs running the league, I would be in favor of an independent body governing the clubs. When the clubs ran the the league they were looking after themselves, with Shels it was Ollie Byrne and that’s right as it was those people putting the money into those clubs.”
To hear Dermot Keely’s explosive interview on Between the Stripes LOI podcast simply listen below using the Audioboom player or alternatively, you can listen and subscribe via Itunes. Dermot’s interview is roughly one-hour-and-four-minutes into the show.
Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS/@BetweenStripes