Viewpoint: Order must be restored
Published 14/09/2007 | 10:50
Who would want to be in charge of the Northern Ireland football team over the past week? First a horror defeat against Latvia in Riga, with even the legendary David Healy failing miserably to inspire.
Then Reykjavik, where we went down 2 - 1 following an own goal that had the fans weeping into their Sea of Green merchandise.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the incredible brawl between Keith Gillespie and George McCartney had the team splashed across the front pages for all the wrong reasons.
Gillespie and McCartney are experienced international players and the fact that a fight broke out between squad members is more than just embarrassment - it is a total disgrace.
If any good is to come from this latest blow to morale, it is that manager Nigel Worthington and IFA chief executive Howard Wells have the opportunity to take the situation by the scruff of the neck. The chances of qualifying for the European Championships are indeed slight. But order and inspiration must be re-imposed on the team.
Even if Northern Ireland fail to qualify, it remains critically important for the future development of the team and its fan base that they are at least seen to go down fighting.