Advice for the new man

The Mayo News is, as you’d expect, positively bubbling over this week with stuff about James Horan’s appointment as Mayo manager. So, without further ado, here’s your one-stop-shop in relation to what’s in it.

Mike Finnerty has an interview with the new man that took place on Wednesday night just after he’d been handed the bib and those of you who have already listened to the Newstalk interview will see that much of the same ground was covered here as well.  I particularly like what JH had to say about the need to put the players at the centre of whole structure, with less focus on “high profile management set-ups”.  Amen to that.

There’s no shortage of advice for El Jefe Nuevo either, with Kevin McStay and Pat Holmes both lining up to provide their opinions on what JH needs to focus on now that he’s in the hot seat.

Kev’s advice is that he needs to be his own man (does that mean he should ignore anyone advising him to be?), concentrate on getting us to the All-Ireland quarter-finals every year and develop some media-coping skills.  All reasonably sound suggestions, you’d have to say.

On the first, I’d say it’s already pretty obvious that this is the kind of guy he is – the few interviews he’s given to date would suggest that he’s a man who knows his own mind and has a clear vision about what he wants to do as manager.  Those interviews also unambiguously demonstrate that he’s no fool where it comes to the media so I’d say he has this one boxed off too.  Kevin himself more or less admits this when he says that if you ask James Horan a straight question, you tend to get a straight answer.  Those of us who have spent some time over the last four years parsing Johnno-speak might take a while getting used to such clarity of expression.

The point about aiming to get us into the quarters every year is spot on, though. Unlike the Kerrymen, Tyrone and, in recent years, Cork, we’ve been slow off the mark in copping on to the fact that this is where the race for Sam really starts nowadays.  How we get there is neither here nor there but the aim has to be to make it this far year after year.

When you think about it, this should certainly be within our reach, as Connacht is a far easier province to negotiate than Ulster or Leinster, with the key to avoiding the worst of the qualifiers being the ability to make the Connacht final.  What we really need to develop is the kind of who-gives-a-fuck attitude that Kerry have got where it comes to the Munster final so that if we lose a Connacht decider (which we frequently do), we don’t see that as the end of the world (which we also frequently do) but instead embrace the opportunity provided by the extra hurdle on the way to the quarters.

Kev also mentions the unsuccessful candidacy of his Sunday Game colleague Tommy Lyons and, in doing so, has a crack at “Mayo supporters on websites and discussion boards” who, prior to Wednesday’s decision, were exhorting the selection committee “to ‘do the right thing’ and appoint Horan ahead of Lyons”.  I wonder who he’s talking about?  If this humble site is included in his criticism (and it might be, dear reader, it might be) I would point out that my core argument was simply that James was the best man for the job and so should get it on merit.  Which Kevin says he did.  So maybe it’s someone else he’s having a go at after all.

His point about Tommy Lyons, though, is well made.  Tommy came in for all manner of criticism – here and elsewhere – about his motives for seeking the job and about his capabilities as a manager.  Now that the dust has settled a bit, I think we all need to accept Tommy’s bona fides as to why he went for the job and to acknowledge the dignity with which he accepted what must have obviously been a crushing result for him.

Back to the advice corner, where former manager Pat Holmes – a man who knows a thing or two about coming into the job as a rookie – has his piece to add.  Pat is big enough to recognise that James isn’t quite the neophyte that he was when he got the job back in 1999 and that the experience gained with Ballintubber should stand to him.  Pat’s advice is all of the broad brush variety but the way in which he enthuses about James’ stated willingness to work closely with the U21 management is quite telling.  Would it surprise you to learn that the previous incumbent made no effort whatsoever to liaise with his U21 or minor counterparts at any point during his tenure?  I have it on good authority that this was the case and so it’s little surprise that Pat would be happy to see a changed emphasis in this area on the part of the new man.

Elsewhere in the Mayo News, there’s a useful profile by Mike Finnerty on James Horan’s backroom team.   And, of course, there’s Sean Rice who does a bit of a Jimmy Magee on it by naming all of JH’s predecessors in the hot seat.

In other news, Hogan Stand is reporting that James Horan won’t be travelling to New York for the FBD World Series Final this coming Sunday.  Proper order too – look what happened to Joe Kernan when he used that tie to launch his ill-fated tenure as Galway boss. I’m not going either, by the way, so I’m afraid there’ll be no Twitter updates or inarticulate audio pieces to look forward to from that one (well, not ones produced by me at any rate).  Will the Mike and Billy Show be on the air for it, I wonder?  I think not, somehow.

Finally, don’t forget that the draw for next year’s championship is on television, on RTÉ 2, this coming Thursday, where throw-in is set for 8 pm.  Our lads are, of course, off to Ruislip for the preliminary round next year but our semi-final opponents will be revealed in Thursday evening’s draw.  Once this happens, we should have a clearer idea about how difficult it’s likely to be for us as we seek to make it as far as the All-Ireland series in 2011.

35 thoughts on “Advice for the new man

  1. I like McStay, I find he is on the money most of the time and is not afraid to stand alone and point the finger if things aint right.
    I was dissapointed with his remarks re. the web sites. Whether a person is a succesful and high profile pundit or in the words of a former Mayo manager “bar stool pundits”, all are entitled to their opinion and the right to express it.
    I still believe it was the web sites that in a very fair way pointed out the fallacy in appointing either O Dwyer or Tom Lyons. The web siters were more in touch with reality than the county board.
    Like straws in the wind, the county board saw the direction they were flying in and acted accordingly. Last week Micko showed his pique in the Indo with a comment about the three remaining names left for the Mayo job “Put them in a hat and give the job to who ever is drawn out”. Not a very gruntled man then.
    This weeks Western has a quote from Tommy Lyons,”When asked if he would consider going for the job again he replied ‘Not a chance, you dont go swimming with sharks for a second time”.
    Both those men werent referring to the websters with those comments.

  2. McStay is a lightweight – he flattered to deceive as a footballer – never really delivered. Now he flatters to deceive as a pundit – not in the same league as Tohill, O’Rourke, Dara O’Cinneide or our own Martin Carney. He says James Horan should be his own man and then proceeds to advise him and tell him what to do ? ? He raises more questions than answers and then throws out a few off the cuff remarks about the real reason that Maughan did not submit himself for interview. I welcome Horan’s decision not to travel to New York – he is not making the same mistake Big Joe made with Galway this time last year. I think Tommy Lyons has come out of this particular episode with a lot of credit. He fought a clean,decent campaign – he took his defeat well and was generous in his comments afterwards towards James Horan. What more can one ask for?

  3. Maybe Kevin McStay has a point about this blog and I’m sure he was referring to it in his comments!

    Maybe this is the new Dublin cabal?

    You have WJ questioned the “motives” of other candidates for putting their names forward against your preferred candidate – how dare they seems to have been the inference! You admit that you once thought Lyons was the man for the job and now on mature recollection instead opt for someone untried.

    Others bloggers were referred disparaging as “cronies” for voicing support for other candidates.

    While I personally wish James Horan well – I do not think he will be the messiah come the last Sunday in September! From his interviews this does not seem like the goal he has set himself, why not? I am sure James McCartan did! Are we that far behind Down – I don’t think so! How many more people does he need on his backroom team – he infers more will be added – who will they be and for what purpose?

    Is it good for Mayo that the minor manager, senior manager, selectors, county secretary are all from the same club?

    This selection, as have selections in the past, alienated alot of people – no more so than people that have allowed their names to go forward in good faith.

  4. I think you’re doing me a disservice there on a number of fronts, Kevin.

    Firstly, I don’t think I can on my own be termed a cabal – I’d need a few more along with me before I’d be deserving of such a sobriquet I reckon.

    Secondly, I never challenged the motives of those (well, apart from Micko whom I wasn’t alone in being sceptical of) who went for the job. If you look back at what I actually wrote in the run-up to the appointment, you’ll see that I specifically said that Tommy Lyons’ motives shouldn’t be questioned so I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick there.

    Thirdly, I never referred to “other bloggers” (by the way, who are these other bloggers?) as cronies. If you read that piece again you’ll see that the reference I made was to the strange voting pattern in the poll which saw support for Tony McGarry suddenly rocket. Information that I was subsequently given confirmed the suspicions I voiced in that piece about how this had come about (hence the ‘cronies’ reference in the title of the piece).

  5. Have to say that WJ is scrupously fair in his dealings with all things Mayo. To judge the site fairly one has to go back to its inception. Fair play and fair comment is its calling card.
    There probably is a Mayo/Dublin cabal in regards football but me thinks its already alligned to the power structures within the county and I doubt if they would be too bothered with blog sites.
    The new question that seems to come into my head is this. Do prominent media commentators now think that they should be the only people who have the right to comment on our football matters? My belief is that everybody can write , therefore everbody can comment. We have left the school hedge mentality behind us and the local teacher doesnt have to come to the house to read the letter from America anymore.

  6. P.S I know. “Scrupously” is spelt wrong. Too early in the morning and I cannot find a dictionary!

  7. Well done Willie Joe as well as telling untruths you have now gone and deleted the said remarks and blogs from your archives!!!! Get rid of the evidence it seems!!!!!!!!

    As for strange voting patterns they started with every poll for Horan you put on your site!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Are others not entitled to vote?????????????

    I don’t recall the word “cronies” as being appropriate when referring to voting practices!

    And yes you did question Lyons “motives” and hence his sincerity and integrity in the process!

    I did not refer to you personally and give you the alias of the Dublin cabal rather I was referring to this blog in general.

    Any response to the substantive substance of my blog!

  8. I agree that Tommy Lyons came out of this with a lot of credit. I thought he was very magmanimous in losing out on a position that he seemed to have a genuine desire for. I truly believe he had emotional reasons for wanting the job.
    My opposition to him was never on a personal level, I just felt Horan was what we needed right now. I think that was most peoples thinking. Time will tell I suppose.

    Kevin, you say James McCartan never set his goal as being in the AI final. How do you know? I never heard him say when he got the job that that was his aim. It may well have been his goal, but he would have been too smart to publicly say it. James Horan may well be doing the same, who knows?
    What’s said in public to the media and in private between management and players is usually very different.

    I think most Mayo supporters have pretty low expectations at the moment, no bad thing either. Our new management team and players need time and space to regroup and build something sustainable for the future.
    Maybe it’ll happen quicker than we think, who knows.

  9. Kevin, can you please explain the comment about the manager and selectors all being from the same club??

  10. It has emerged that the back room teams were as follows
    Horan – Nallan, Connelly, Jordan with Moffet as Dublin trainer
    McGarry – Fallon, Kearney, Mortimer with O’Neill as Dublin trainer
    Lyons – Nallan, Dempsey, A.N Other

    Concerns – 1. Nallan too close to the players 2. Horan working arrangement means early start; is this sustainable? 3. Jordan works shifts.

    The job requires at least 40hrs per week to ensure success, this is why JohnO failed, are we going down the same road again? hope not, but remain to be convinced.

  11. God above, the man hasn’t even started on his job and people are coming out of the shadows ready to attack.

    Re the minor and senior manager being from the same club, I don’t see this as an issue. Are you suggesting the teams will be dominated by Ballintubber players?
    Take last year’s minor team – did you see Ballintubber dominating the team?
    And besides, the club has won 2 of the last 3 U21 titles (and lost this year’s final), been in minor county semi this year, and are in the senior county final. So if there are a couple more Ballintubber players, I’m sure it will be warrented.

    On the backroom teams, you say Nallen is too close to the players. I think Nallen is held in such high regard this wouldn’t be an issue. And beside, he was also in Lyons backroom team according to the above.
    And McGarry’s backroom team included Mortimer – presumably you mean Kenneth. What about conflict of interests there, with 2 of his brother’s on last year’s panel? And Kevin O’Neill – would he not also be too close to the players?

    We all need to let the new management team settle in, put their structures in place and get on with the job. Sniping is not going to achieve anything.

  12. Dan – I think the point was that the Manager and one member of his backroom team are from the same club along with Minor Manager and county secretary, have to say it’s not good for proper representation of the county

  13. Kevin – I’ll deal with your increasingly hysterical comments in the order in which you’ve made them.

    You accuse me of telling untruths. Can you please be specific?

    I have never deleted anything that’s been posted on this blog. I have, from time to time, have had to moderate comments that are abusive or potentially libellous but once stuff is up there and cannot be deemed as such, it’s up there. What deleted comments are you referring to?

    Don’t understand your comments (or all the !!!!!!!!!!s) about strange voting patterns but would reiterate the point that the surge in support for Tony McGarry in that particular poll didn’t occur by accident.

    Your comment re “cronies” makes absolutely no sense at all, at all.

    I did not question Tommy Lyons’ motives or his sincerity or his integrity – if you think I did, please point to specific examples.

    This blog in general is just me.

    I didn’t realise you had a blog, with or without “substantive substance”, whatever that’s meant to be. A URL for this blog would be handy so a man could see what’s on it and see if the substantive substance therein requires a response.

  14. Tubberman – Hang on to you knickers there, its NOT an attack, its stating reality.
    Firstly I don’t think Kevin O’Neill was a selector on McGarry’s team and secondly regarding Mortimer there is a difference between being close to 2 as opposed to 30 assuming the 2 are still going to be involved in 2011. I’m not saying the issues are road blocks to success & I hope Horan brings home the bacon in Sept ’11.

  15. what aim should a manager have if not winning all-ireland
    why do people think its not on
    why do we need years to rebuild

  16. Dom, sorry you’ve lost me.
    I was saying that there is no evidence that McCartan expected his team to reach the AI final this year, he never said that was his aim for the year at the beginning of his tenure.
    Kevin said that McCartan set a goal of reaching the AI final, I’m disputing that.

    How do you know what James Horan’s actual aims are for his 3 year term? Did you really expect him to come out and say we’re going to win Sam next year??

  17. Reality check – In terms of the management teams over minor, U21 and senior. You’re saying 3 of those (between managers and selectors) are from the same club, and that’s a major issue for you?? I think a reality check is needed…

    I think Tubberman is right, the sniping has begun already

  18. It would have been no harm to have got a “hard man” involved in the set up. Someone that will tell the lads to make the hard tackles now and again and maybe run the risk of getting sent off. James Nallen, while being a great guy and servant to Mayo will not bring that to the party. We have been far too nice for far too long. Are there any hard men playing football in Mayo that could be brought into the senior panel? We really are lacking in that department now. The likes of Colm Mac, David Brady and even Noel Connelly from the ’96 team never shyed away from hitting the sly digs. Oh for a Paul Galvin type character in Mayo.

  19. Horan’s a week on the job and we’re fighting among ourselves already. And it’s not even on anything that happened – it’s about stuff that might happen, maybe, down the line, going forward.

    No wonder we never win anything.

  20. Dan – No! Your understanding of who said what is incorrect, suggest you re-read! slower this time.

  21. I think all three final candidates (Lyons, McGarry and Horan) would have brought energy, dedication and positivity to the job. Only one could get the job and Horan is it. You do a dis-service to all by doubting their ability to remain independent and their motives in going for the position. Cronies V’s Supporters ? Its all in a word Willie Joe. I am sure both Nallen and Mortimor are equally capable of remaining objective and Horan and Jordans working arrangements are their own business. Not one negative comment was posted in relation to Horan until after he was appointed…..Let him do the job, he is human not the Messiah. All those who applied for the job and who put their names forward as back room team members are long serving individuals in the Mayo Football scene and not bones to picked at by vultures.

  22. Are people seriously expecting James Horan to come out and say ‘Well I know that we weren’t up to the challenges posed by Sligo and Longford this year but our aim next year must be to win an All-Ireland’. I bet that he’s planning to win every game but he’s not daft enough to create a hostage to fortune by declaring his real goals publicly.

  23. Jesus lads will ye calm down – Kevin give up the sniping at WJ, the paranoia is taking over yet again without a ball thrown in! Go back and read what been written without exclamation marks in abundance and you’ll see you’re off the mark.
    Again I say good luck to James Horan and all his team. Appreciate where facetheball is coming from looking for a hard man, don’t think it’s Horan’s style but we’ll wait and see the new team and the new style of play.

  24. Best of luck to James and his team. James never played under age for Mayo, he was a late bloomer, hopefully he will use this expierence to unearth new players. Martin Connelly and James Nallen are both teachers/lecturer so will have lots of free time to dedicate to the team during the championship.

  25. An Spailpín Fánach is spot on….lots of people overloading on the negativity already. Negativity should be held for days like longford last summer. pick it up boys! Personally im excited at the prospect of having a completely new approach with James horan on board. We all knew what we would get withMaughan/Mahony/Moran etc. With james there is the hope that he will freshen up the whole thing. Until i see a reason to be negative im going to keep the chin up!!

  26. Good lad, Ted! A fine attitude – one I hope will become more widely held. Can’t see the point of folk who spend their time naysaying when we should be looking to the future with optimism.

  27. WJ, will you please get a life. You did in fact refer to “cronies” with regard to a specific candidate for the job.

    Do you not consider people who voted for Horan to be Horans cronies!!
    If you have concerns about polls then why bother with them at all!!

    Kevin has a point.
    You got your man, now please let it go and lets see how things pan out.

  28. Record – to clarify the point (yet again – yawn) I made that reference to register my suspicions (which were subsequently confirmed) about irregular voting patterns in that particular poll. It’s all water under the bridge now so if I need to get a life on this point, I’m not the only one. Change the record …

  29. WJ – will leave you with the last word as you appear a little cranky and a bit of a comedian!!

    Over & out

  30. Fair enough, Record, though I’m not sure I’m either of those things! In any event, it’s definitely time to move on and the tragic accident over the weekend sure puts other stuff squarely into perspective.

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