Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Kennedy wishes Shaw best of luck

After his turbulent reign as Irish FA president, it is hardly surprising that Raymond Kennedy has wished his successor all the luck in the world.

Jim Shaw will be appointed president of the association tonight as he was the only person nominated for the post.

Kennedy is still upset at the manner of his departure — he quit after losing an IFA Ruling Council vote of no-confidence last month.

But he hopes that Shaw helps to guide the IFA through this difficult period in its history when the game desperately needs fresh investment, Windsor Park needs upgraded and the football body needs to restore its reputation among football fans.

“I am unhappy with the way I was dealt with at the IFA but I will congratulate Jim on his appointment and I wish him well,” said Kennedy. “I’ll also wish him luck because he will need it!

“I was accused of being selfish when I was president and I felt that was very unfair criticism. I’ve always had the view that decisions have to be taken for the best interests of football and Jim will take that approach because it is the right one.

“I haven’t served the IFA for 35 years purely for selfish interests and no doubt Jim will take the same approach and get the big decisions correct.

“I trust the IFA will continue to support the friendly fixtures which have given the manager (Nigel Worthington) an opportunity to blood new talent but we got criticism for doing that as well.”

Shaw has served as Chairman of the Amateur League and County Antrim FA representative for 25 years.

Kennedy’s exit was always on the cards following an independent report into the sacking of former chief executive Howard Wells which criticised his role in the affair.

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland said the IFA had to embrace change and an independent review aims to examine the structure and governance of the association.

Kennedy hopes that £23million earmarked for football in Northern Ireland will eventually emerge but he remains fearful.

“Over my three and a half years as president I’m delighted with the improvements we have made in Irish League facilities,” added Kennedy.

“The priority now is to get our hands on more money.”

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