I was unsure of who I wanted to succeed Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland manager, but my mind's now made up. I give you Mr Iain Dowie esq. and his mission statement.
"we need to get some passion back. We can't have players not turning up, then playing for their clubs at the weekend, and we have got to stop the trend of losing so many players to the Republic. If we can do that, anything is possible, as Billy Bingham showed in the 80s. We haven’t been to a major tournament since, and that is something that needs putting right. It's a tough group we are in for the next World Cup, but we really should be able to compete with teams like Israel. We will, if we can get back to making Windsor Park a difficult place to come to on a wet and windy night. That has to be the aim, and it is a realistic one."Well said Mr Dowie Sir! There's been a lot of technocratic talk about the respective merits of various candidates' CVs. Let's cut through the nonsense though, splitting hairs about achievements in the lower leagues in neither here nor there. Lawrie McMenemy had the most impressive CV of recent Northern Ireland managers, and he was the worst manager. Arguably his namesake Sanchez had the least striking club record.
Dowie understands the Northern Ireland set-up and he understands the fanbase. He can put fire into the the players' bellies, get the stands roaring again and, most importantly, put out a team charged with harrying, pressing and disrupting superior opposition. That's the only way we can compete and challenge for qualification.
The only thing the IFA need look at in its recruitment process is the above quote. It is the most inspiring, no nonsense statement any candidate has made to date. And the man has a record in management to compare with the rest. Offer him a contract right now.
P.S. I'm fully aware that my photoshop skills are appalling.