The Greatest League in the World Podcast hosted its first live event at the Sugar Club in Dublin last night with the added attraction of a first public appearance in the capital from Noel Mooney in his new role.
The newly appointed FAI General Manager for Football Services and partnerships, effectively the acting CEO for six months through to November 30th, spoke of his frustration at the staleness that had crept into the FAI.
The audience was very much one of the fans of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland. They have an interest in the levels of international football above and junior club and underage below them in the perceived hierarchy of the football family but the League is their sweet spot and that’s what the GLITW podcast serves up.
It featured in our look last month at some of the most interesting podcasts that are being produced and it was Con Murphy in the chair last night lobbing the questions at Mooney.
Inevitably most of them from him and the audience focused on the League and what could be done.
New facilities for Dundalk, St Patrick’s Athletic, Drogheda and Finn Harps were all mentioned while Niall Quinn’s plan for the future, again heavily geared towards the structure of the League, gained plenty of airtime.
Mooney said that he had met briefly with Quinn and others, including Kieran Lucid who has plans for an All Ireland League but he would not be drawn on whether either would come to life. That was a decision for the new Board of the FAI to be elected in July and for the clubs themselves.
He spoke about the need for a long term vision and for better marketing in order to generate greater revenues.
He speaks from a position of strength having overseen the development of the UEFA GROW programme that provides a playbook on how smaller national associations like the FAI should go about precisely these areas.
It needs to be a vision of the future that paints a picture of where we want to be in ten years time as opposed to the start of next season or two or three years down the line.
Mooney is likely to face the media in the coming days as part of the publication of the Governance Review Group report that is set to be formally revealed this coming Friday.
Some of what it is reported to contain has been leaked, including the addition of four independent Board members as part of a twelve strong group and that four of the members of the new board should be Women.
It won’t paint that ten-year vision. The terms of reference are really just to look at the right structures for bringing forward a new era in Irish football.
Last night was very much an SSE Airtricity League perspective. The Stakeholders Forum that took place at the Mansion House two weeks ago was more about the majority of smaller clubs that make up the grassroots of the sport.
Here is the interview that Mooney gave to Cathal Dervan on the FAI’s own online channel.
Image Credit: Eoin Noonan, Sportsfile