Two things struck me about Johnno’s confirmation the other day that he’s happy to see out his final year as Mayo bainisteoir. (These two blinding flashes of light are in addition to the clarification that the County Board’s decision to extend his mandate last year had the effect of adding just a single year to his tenure – I’d always been under the impression that he’d been given two additional years in charge).
The first was how it’s now abundantly clear – perhaps for the first time – that 2010 will be his final year prowling the sidelines for us. In confirming his wish to stay on next year, the way he said it left no doubt that next year will indeed be the final one of The Second Coming:
Last autumn, I was given an additional two years as team manager by the Mayo county board and I’ve decided to take up the option of the remaining 12 months in the position.
The possibility does, of course, remain that Johnno will be offered a further term after this current one expires but the above quote suggests strongly that he won’t be making himself available after “the remaining 12 months” runs out. Which brings me neatly to the second thing that struck me, i.e. that the timing of Johnno’s second departure from the position of Mayo manager might not necessarily coincide with the end of our championship campaign next summer.
As we can all see with our own eyes, the current governing coalition isn’t a million miles away from collapse and so there’s every chance that, by accident or design (most likely the former but the latter can’t be ruled out either), a General Election could well be called before the FBD gets underway in the New Year. Given the current poll ratings, such an election would, sure as eggs is eggs, usher Biffo out of and our Inda into Merrion Street at the head of an FG/Labour administration. Were this to happen, then the Deputy could well be in the hunt for some office or other (notwithstanding the fact that the Blueshirts have spent much of the past two years calling for a major reduction in the number of junior ministerial posts), a development which would hasten his departure from the Mayo dugout.
This is all supposition, I accept, and if the current lot manage to keep the political show on the road for another year, then it’s almost certain that Johnno will still be in our corner next summer. Such an outcome would, in my view, be very much in our interests, not least given the strong likelihood that the Fat Controller will soon pitch up in his bainisteoir‘s bib next door. But, as Harold McMillan once wryly observed, events outside direct government control can often prove to be the principal obstacle to political progress. In terms of ensuring continuity on the sideline for us, it’s probably no harm that the Blueshirts are currently talking through their collective holes on NAMA but, despite this, the issue still has the capability to produce all manner of election-inducing “events”. And if it does, it won’t just be FF that’ll be looking for a new leader once the dust settles.