Saturday, July 13, 2024

FAI Director Canham reveals timeline to appoint new boss Hallgrimsson

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FAI Director of Football Marc Canham said it was a mistake to declare there would be a new Ireland head coach appointed in early April – but insisted Heimir Hallgrimsson was always first choice. 

Former Iceland gaffer Hallgrimosson, 57, has taken the Ireland post on a 17-month contract following his resignation from Jamaica last week after their Copa America elimination. 

FAI director of football Marc Canham says Heimir Hallgrímsson was always their number one choice

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FAI director of football Marc Canham says Heimir Hallgrímsson was always their number one choice
Newly appointed Republic of Ireland head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson was a confirmed as boss after a eight month search

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Newly appointed Republic of Ireland head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson was a confirmed as boss after a eight month search

He had two years remaining on his Reggae Boyz contract when he quit.

And he insisted today that he told the FAI from their first meeting that he would take Jamaica to the Copa America and only made his mind up to leave the Reggae Boyz before the June tournament. 

But Canham read from a statement in March that the appointment would happen in April and left little wriggle room. 

He then said: “We look forward to announcing that new head coach in early April

“Existing contractual arrangements mean that we are not in a position to announce any further details at this point but as we have committed to, we will announce that in early April.

“There is a confidentiality issue there but we are near the end of the process.”

LONG SEARCH

But, by mid-April, Canham did an in-house FAI interview that did not address his early-April promise but said it would take longer to get the right man. 

And he insisted at today’s managerial unveiling in the Aviva Stadium after a 231 day search that, despite the contradiction in the previous statements, Hallgrimsson was always the target. 

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He said: “We recognise how that might have been perceived (the April promise), we understand that, we have acknowledged that and take responsibility for that. 

“Contrary to what’s been written and said, it was never, ever, our intent to deliberately mislead anyone. 

“To be super clear, never ever did we sit in the room and think, let’s deliberately mislead anyone. 

“Never, ever was that part of our conversation or decision-making, ever. 

“It was always the focus on getting the right person, that (April promise) was not the best communication from us, we take responsibility for that.

“If we were to do that again we’d communicate in  a different way and it’s good learnings from us moving forward. 

“We always stayed true to the fact that we tried to get the best person for the job.”

But he outlined how the former Iceland manager was that target, and – seemingly contracted the April promise by confirming Hallgrimsson always intended to go to the Copa America.

NUMBER ONE

He said: “As part of the process we commenced at the back end of last year, we identified Heimir as a candidate and had an initial conversation with him in a very informal way.

“In March, our selection panel decided Heimir was our number one candidate. He was the person we wanted for the role.

“We wanted to appoint Heimir but he had been very consistent and very committed to the Jamaican national team competing in the CONCACAF Nations League and the Copa America. 

“This was a decision we respected. We remained in contact with Heimir and were willing to wait for him to become available. 

“For us, for Irish football, for the selection panel, the focus was always about getting the right person. It was always about getting the right person. 

“That was fundamental to the whole process over the whole time. We were absolutely focused on making sure we got this appointment right and the right person for our senior men’s team and for Irish football. 

“That is exactly why we have made the decision to wait and secure Heimir at this point.”

For his part, Hallgrimsson revealed that the Ireland job always appealed though it was only following the Copa America that he decided to take the Boys in Green post. 

Hallgriosson said: “From them (FAI) and from some others there was some interest. I said from the beginning I was committed to Jamaica, finishing the Copa America etc. 

“It was always an interesting project, this national team. I think this job is really an interesting project. It’s exciting for all coaches I think. 

“When it got closer to the Copa, I was more leaning on this, even though I had some other offers as well. 

“Before Copa America I talked to the president of Jamaica and told him I would resign after the Copa. I tried to depart Jamaica in as positive a way as possible. 

“I know it was probably difficult for them (the FAI), I repeated myself again and again that I was focused on finishing the Copa America and that probably not what they wanted to hear.”

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