Mayo Person of the Year award due recognition for James

James Horan

Photo: Irish Independent

I know that awards of this kind often don’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things but I think it’s right and proper that James Horan, who led the line so well for us as Mayo manager for four unforgettable years, should be honoured with the Mayo Person of the Year award.

From a football perspective, he took us from a very bad place in 2010 to the very gates of Heaven and while it will always be a sense of regret to all of us – and, one suspects, even more so to James himself – that his team didn’t seal the deal in 2012 or 2013 (or, indeed, last year as well), it’s unquestionably the case that he transformed our standing as a footballing power within the county during his time in charge. There was heartbreak, for sure, on the big days but James certainly gave the county plenty to smile about, at a time when there was precious little else to be upbeat about in this country, and for that alone he deserves this award.

As others have said in the comments over the last few days, though, his greatest legacy could well prove to be how he changed our collective mindset, sweeping away memories of the disastrous 2004 and 2006 whippings and the negative, hang-dog demeanour of the Johnno II era, replacing it with a far more more confident outlook. That we didn’t ultimately get where James wanted to take us can’t be airbrushed out of the story but, for my money, the ride he took us on is one I’ll always treasure as a Mayo supporter.

If we do┬áreach the Promised Land at some point soon, the praise will of course rightly go to those who manage to get us over the line. But if this happens – which it may never do, though I earnestly hope it does – at least some of the credit will also have to be attributed to those who went before and who helped lay the foundations for success. James may not have got us there but he left a rich legacy for his successors to build on and if the lads do manage to reach the top of the summit, that legacy will be a large part in the ultimate story of success.

20 thoughts on “Mayo Person of the Year award due recognition for James

  1. Richly deserved. Agree also that the last 4 years have been the best as a Mayo supporter. We start 2015 as one of the top 3 in the country, fearing no one, with a team that is still improving. Thanks James.

  2. Thoroughly well deserved. Congratulations to James and his family. He’s left Mayo football in a great place and despite not winning Sam, history will look on his tenure very well.

  3. Congrats to James and well deserved. If do we manage to reach the promised land this year or next, then James can also take credit.

  4. Couldn’t agree more with your sentiment, WJ. The past four years have been a transformative, rollercoaster journey and you make an excellent point about that journey giving us something to smile about, at a time when we had precious little else. I think that’s particularly true for our own county, and it’s telling that engagement and attendances – even to the many games in the capital – stayed strong throughout what was for the county an extremely difficult time financially. All of which reinforces the point that in Mayo, football is not just a sport – it’s interwoven into our very existence and identity. Indeed for many of us, it’s the closest thing we have to religion. ­čÖé

    I think huge credit also needs to go to all who played a part in this journey – backroom team, officials (yes), mentors, and indeed, the supporters. And most notably the players themselves who provided us with some of the proudest and most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent in a Mayo shirt.

    I think the first time I met you WJ was in Salthill in 2013 after the Galway game, and I will never forget the sense of pride I felt at that moment as we surveyed the scene in front of us. That we have come to expect those days is a measure of how far we have come, and James Horan and his team have been central to that journey. So I’m delighted that his commitment and contribution have been recognised.

    Now to finish the job for once and for all.

  5. Imagine if Mayo had won Sam up under him, he d be canonized and we d be having pilgrimages to Ballintubber and praying for him to appear in every village and town in Mayo!
    He definitely has made life a lot easier for a lot of Mayo people, in my own darker, more somber hours or minutes I always think of Mayo football and the color and excitement it brings, then I’m fine again. If Mayo do actually win in the next short while I think Horan will be happier than any ex manager ever in the history of sports, he is definitely Mayo person of the year.

  6. Everything is different now. And even though Mayo fans love to give out (all the time!) the crowds going to games, even FBD games, are dwarfing crowds that used to go even 5 years ago. There’s a great buzz around it that wasn’t always there. For God’s sake, I’m genuinely excited about Sunday! An FBD 3rd round game against Roscommon!

  7. Congrats to James Horan on the Award! You would have to say that the football played by Mayo under James in the first 50 minutes of the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin in 2012, the first 60 minutes of the All-Ireland quarter-final against Donegal in 2013 and first 30 minutes of the second-half of the drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry last year were as good as any football played in Croke Park by any team in the last 25 years at least. If Noel and Pat can get the team to produce that level of performance in major finals surely our day will come. James Horan has set the bench-mark, heres hoping that the future is bright for Mayo football, roll on the next game….

  8. I listened to James’ interview on radio today. He was superbly articulate with a crisp delivery and not once did he say “lookit”. It must have been a kind of camouflage with James keeping his cards close to his chest.

    The biggest difference with Mayo now is that it is a highly respected team which no other team fancies coming up against.

  9. As the saying goes, you don’t realise how good someone has been until their gone. James Horan took over a Mayo side on their knees that needed major reshaping and rebuilding 2011 was rocky could easily have lost to London and weren’t great against Galway,Roscommon either however the quarter final win and performance against Cork was a sign of what was to come under Horans management. The last three years AI could have been won just the rub of green was missing that all winners get.

    After 4 tiring years it was probably time for a new voice(s) however if Sam is finally won this September I don’t think anyone should forget the huge part James has played.

  10. Congratulations to James – very well deserved – he has brought Mayo football to a completely new level over the course of the past four years and set a new template of high intensity football for his successors to emulate and build upon.

  11. The award is so well deserved. James has completely changed how we view ourselves. I’ve said it before on here. No longer do we go up against Kerry/Cork/Dublin etc hoping to win. We fully expect to win and are confident in our ability. James brought us so far in a short space of time then carried it on for a further three years. I for one still feel a sense of almost a loss since he left. Here’s hoping the new guys can carry it on.

  12. Can only reiterate what the other posters have already said. In particular, I would like to endorse three points already made:
    1) With a bit of luck, we could have anything between 1 and 3 All Irelands won under his stewardship;
    2) The football played in the segments of those 3 games (see HopeSpringsEternal) was as good as anything played by any team in that period;
    3) Despite the disappointments, the last four years have been the most enjoyable and proud time to be a Mayo supporter in my ( more than 50 years’ ) lifetime.
    Thanks, James and when we do win Sam, we will acknowledge the huge part you played.

  13. As I’ve posted on the “Lookit” thread those of us who are privileged to be Mayo-born owe a huge debt of gratitude to James H. He shares a name with another who did wonders for our county and our people. By their deeds they shall be known. A richly deserved accolade for an officer and a gentleman. And, in a week when the first Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic pilgrimage flight from New York (presided over by influential NY Archbishop Dolan) into OUR airport has been announced for next August let us also salute his celebrated predecessor Monsignor James. Lookit, well done and congrats Jimmy H.

  14. Agree he has done Mayo a great service over the last few years and like everyone else I’m very thankful and grateful for all he has done.
    A bit harsh maybe to be saying this, but should we be rewarding failure. James himself would I’m sure agree that ultimately not winning an all Ireland was a failure.

  15. I couldn’t disagree more, Ah now – our record from 2007 to 2010 was failure for sure but what James did was make us consistently competitive in a way I’ve certainly never seen us at any time before. He also raised our expectations hugely to the extent that we can now reasonably expect to be there or thereabouts every year. If that can be called failure, then fair enough but not in my book at any rate.

  16. I have always been a fan so I believe it is well deserved, so good luck in the future James . hopefully we can carry it forward

  17. Fair play to him. He gave great service over the last number of years. Put together a fine group a lads. Hopefully they can finish the job.

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