Ole ole ole

Following a number of meetings, the Football Associations of Northern
Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, have agreed in
principle to set-up a series of three biennial tournaments which will
be played on a league basis.

The first tournament will commence in 2009 with home and away games being rotated from one tournament to the next and each team playing three matches per tournament.

Commercial arrangements and fixture dates are now being finalised.


Howard Wells CEO, IFA
John Delaney, CEO, FAI
Gordon Smith, CEO, SFA
David Collins, Gen Sec, FAW

Any word on whether these will be played altogether or just on Friendly dates. We’re insular enough already in our exposure to foreign systems and I’d have my worries that matches against Scotland, Wales and the Occupied 6 will be just exposing us to the same type of football most of these guys play week in, week out anyway.

Looking at the squad:

Given - Newcastle play shite but at least he’s in goals
Finnan - Liverpool try and pass it a bit though I always get the impression he’s not allowed to get forward that much
Dunne - no problems with how City play or his role
McShane - out of his depth at a very limited level in a very limited team
Kilbane - all hustle and bustle
Hunt - Reading play a small bit but he doesn’t tend to
Reid - Plays football in fairness to him but against Championship opponents
Duff - doesn’t seem to bother with football much anymore
Aiden - Celtic do play nice football and use him creatively
Keane - as with Aiden really
Doyle - mixed enough experience with Reading

There’s really exposure there to one type of game and playing the same type of side over and over again won’t really help us. We’d be far better off arranging friendlies away in Croatia, Portugal and places.

WOW, is it alright if I reply on this thread?

Anyway, I made the following post on another forum last week when the concept gathered more pace after England’s failure to qualify for the European Championships. I don’t think the idea of playing these games has any merit whatsoever:

'We`ll never be able to compete on the European stage if we play regularly against teams who place no emphasis whatsoever on retaining possession.

We should be looking to play as many of the technically adept teams taking part in Euro 2008 in friendlies ahead of the tournament such as the Croatians rather than engaging in kick, rush and hack fests against the likes of England, Wales and the Occupied Six.’

Absolutely smacks of minnowism.

Bandage wrote:

WOW, is it alright if I reply on this thread?

Allowed, thanks for asking though…:wink:

SoulDressing wrote:

Absolutely smacks of minnowism.

That’s it in a nutshell. Third-rate tournament for teams afraid to look beyond their own doorstep for innovative ideas.

I’ve honestly lost all interest in the national football team. This really is of no consequence. If people stop caring i.e going to games/watching games then the FAI will have to take notice.


Celtic Cup
by John S - BBC Sport 26 November 2007

The suits at the English Football Association have been rightly impugned for their pitiful leadership as regards the appointment of Steve McClaren, but credit where credit is due - they appear to have steered well clear of the proposed Celtic Cup.

Which begs the question: what does that say of the leadership capabilities of Howard Wells, chief executive of the Irish Football Association, FAI chief executive John Delaney, Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith and Football Association of Wales general secretary David Collins.

These four wise men have put their heads together and mystifyingly “agreed in principle”, according to the FAI website, to give the green light to a revised version of an anachronistic tournament that was quietly put out of its misery in 1984.

Even Scotland coach Alex McLeish has expressed reservations about the tournament.

McLeish said: “I’m not 100% in favour of it but I can see the positives. I’d love to play England but perhaps they feel they have bigger fish to fry.”

The positives McLeish mentions we can safely assume are making a bob or two.

But the commercial men of the four associations involved will have to mount the mother of all advertising pitches to sex up an event for fans and television companies alike which, at first glance, has all the the allure of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

We are constantly told that there is too much football on television, that players are asked to play too much football, that tired bodies make them more susceptible to injuries and that they are never given enough time to rest.

So what remedy to cure some of these ills do Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland come up with?

A proposal that will see players involved in three more games every two years in a tournament that has absolutely no relevance unless you are the most blinkered of football anoraks.

Is playing the Celtic Cup really going to improve the quality of the international prospects of these four teams? Make them more competitive on the world stage? Help their qualification campaigns for the next World Cup and Euro 2012? More skilful?

Only last week Wales manager John Toshack was talking about the British game’s insularity.

“People abroad, I can assure you, do not have a high opinion of our game,” said Toshack. "They have of our Premier League because it is full of foreign players.

“We play too much 4-4-2 in straight lines and think that’s it, the way to play,” said the 58-year-old Welshman.

"Where are the managers who go abroad from the English game? Clubs in Europe don’t rate them and don’t go for them.

“We are not rated on the continent. Managers are not, coaches are not, players are not.”

Instead of playing these games why don’t these international players meet up and dedicate this time to a Coerver or a Futebol de Salo skills course to refine their technique?

How stupid of me - such a proposal is not a money-spinner.

Hold on a minute though, mabye I’m being too harsh about the “Celtic Cup”.

Perhaps it does have one aspect to recommend to it.

Given Ryan Giggs’ record for turning up for Wales’ friendly matches it will be interesting to see how many of Manchester United’s “Celtic” players will be able to join up with their respective nations when the tournament kicks off in 2009.

Have to echo, I find this idea totally boring and have no interest whatsoever. I’d rather the international setup be focussed on qualification for major tournaments.