As I took my seat in the Aviva stadium on Sunday I couldn’t help but notice the young man beside me wearing an Inter Milan tracksuit and the four Dubliners behind me dressed in Manchester City jerseys. I then took note of the large group of Celtic supporters behind the goal who were waving tricolours vigorously. I then thought to myself out of the four teams that were playing which one was the team representing Ireland?
Is this what the FAI wanted to show, that more people support foreign clubs than the Irish league? Who knows. I would say it was the last thing on John Delaney’s mind as he relaxed in Brazil rubbing his hands at the prospect of the financial gain for the FAI when the Republic of Irelands play Germany as he said himself “Germany are a great team to play in the Aviva Stadium financially, with the television and advertising rights”.
Many Airtricity League fans would hardly bother paying €30 plus into such a tournament (myself included). The only reason why I was there on Sunday is because I received a free ticket through a mate. An additional two free tickets were offered to us by a passer by outside the stadium on Sunday and judging by the amount of empty seats, I’m sure there were plenty more free tickets going about.
The way in which the Irish side were treated going into the tournament was very poor. The fact that they were refused the right to have a shower in the stadium was nothing more than a disgrace. Not to mention it was the same footballing body that made this decision who refused to allow Limerick FC play Barcelona last year in a friendly.
And of course Mr Delaney deserves the €400,000 salary he earns each year which is four times more than the League of Ireland champions will receive this year. Having overseen €410 million spent on the Aviva Stadium, surely this man should be taking a much bigger pay-cut than under ten per cent.
I will never forget the atmosphere generated in Lansdowne Road. It was old but it was steeped in history, something which the new Aviva must erect from scratch. Judging by the dead atmosphere in the East Stand on Sunday, it may never come close to the old Lansdowne atmosphere.
Either way John Delaney will still be making a fortune.