Belfast Telegraph

Eamon Dunphy slams 'stupid' Republic of Ireland boss Noel King

By Daniel McDonnell

RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy has labelled the animated behaviour of Ireland's interim soccer manager Noel King last night as "stupid".



King came in for strong criticism from Dunphy again this morning after he took issue with RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue’s suggestion that Kevin Doyle and Anthony Stokes were deployed out of position in a post-match TV interview.


Dunphy said the manager was clearly frustrated by criticism from RTE's soccer panel, and was taking this out on RTE sports commentator Tony O'Donoghue.


He said that the war of words between himself and King was now "a storm in a tea cup" because King will not manage Ireland's soccer team for much longer.


"I thought it was a bit immature of Noel. He's 57, and I thought [the reaction] was immaturity and it was unfair."


"I don't think Tony stepped out of line at all."


"He probably won't be doing this job much longer, and I think it's a storm in a tea cup really."


King and O'Donoghue are expected to come face to face again this morning at a scheduled press conference in Abbotstown.


The Football association of Ireland (FAI) has said it will take "no action" in relation to the spat between King and RTE.


An FAI spokesperson told this morning: "Noel is going to do a press conference this morning."


But the association has "no comment on the matter", she said.


Meanwhile, Dunphy said he hopes to move on from the recent clash, and he will give his opinions on Ireland's performance "game by game".


"Forgiveness is my gift,"he said.


"He [King] was reacting to Friday night and we decided not to respond to that.


Following Ireland’s 3-0 loss against Germany on Friday night, the caretaker boss hit out at RTE pundits John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady and compared their analysis to a "comedy programme" after learning of their criticism of his tactics


The interim boss opened up on the TV trio after being told of Dunphy's view that King's approach made former manager Giovanni Trapattoni look like Pep Guardiola.


"That's a comedy programme that they have on after every match isn't it?" said King. "Maybe it's a joke but I don't get it."


Dunphy said: “He reopened that last night which I think was stupid and that's what last night was about, it wasn't about Tony. And I think Noel was impatient and frustrated. I thought he was a bit rough on Tony."


"He wasn't being lavished with love and he was reacting to that."


Dunphy is currently nursing a chest infection and a cold, and he will not attend the press conference in Abbotstown.


In the tetchy exchange with RTE's O' Donoghue last night, King rejected the suggestion that Kevin Doyle and Anthony Stokes were deployed out of position.


"They've played there umpteen times for their clubs," he said.


He accused O'Donoghue of not having "done his homework" and claimed the RTE reporter was denigrating the players.


"Don't talk to me about that, don't talk to me about that please.


"Kevin Doyle was not played out of position. If anyone wants to do their homework, he has played there loads of times for his club.


"This is typical, don't degrade the players' performance."


After the interview with O'Donoghue, RTE's coverage switched back to it's studio where Johnny Giles, Richie Sadlier and Eamon Dunphy commented on King's interaction with O'Donoghue.


Dunphy accused of him being a "bully", adding: "He is immature, out of his depth."


Both Giles and Sadlier said King was "disappointing".


However, Robbie Keane jumped to defend the caretaker last night.


"I don't know if there's anything between them (King and Dunphy) but he hasn't spoofed any of the lads this week. He's been honest as they come, a credit to himself the way he handled himself," said Keane, who had earlier registered his 61st international goal.


"To come in, change it all up and leave out players who want to play, he's done well. All the lads enjoyed him, he's one of our own, he's fantastic."


The Ireland skipper did, however, urge the FAI to move quickly on the appointment of a new boss ahead of mooted friendlies with Hungary (home) and Poland (away) next month.


"If Noel is here in November the lads will support him but you'd imagine it's the perfect time to have a new manager," he said. "Otherwise, what's the point in having these friendlies?"


King addressed his TV anger in his subsequent press conference with the rest of the media and insisted that he hasn't been bothered by comments from Montrose.


"If you're asking about it, you obviously think it's important but I don't think it's important," he said.


"All players have strengths and weaknesses, they all deserve to work hard and not take ridicule from anyone and we need to stop that," he continued, veering into a general theme about general punditry.


"We have to appreciate who we are as a country, give up the nonsense and try and be the best team that we can be."


On the plus side, Ireland finished the night in pole position to be second seeds for the Euro 2016 qualifiers. The victory coupled with defeats for Turkey and Slovenia against Holland and Switzerland respectively means that Romania are the only team capable of pushing Ireland out of the second pot, but they have to win both legs in next month's play-off and will be unseeded for that mission.


The low point of the exercise was a serious injury to Everton midfielder Darron Gibson, who sustained suspected knee ligament damage in the first half. His club manager Roberto Martinez, who was in Dublin, said that it didn't look "too good'' for the 25-year-old.


King praised his players for their application and reserved special words for Andy Reid, who was deployed as a central playmaker.


"I thought we got the ball down and tried to play good football. Andy was immense," he said.


The stand-in gaffer confessed to feeling relieved at delivering the necessary result. He acknowledged that some players were unhappy to be left out of both games, with James McClean tweeting afterwards about a "long 10 days" before deleting it and Shane Long sending out a veiled message which hinted at frustration.


"I understand it," said King, "Being here for two games and not playing, it's horrendous. You should try it. Do you think they'll be dancing?"


The 57-year-old conceded that, while he has enjoyed an educational time in charge, he is looking forward to a break. "Every ounce I have has gone into the last two games," he admitted. "I'm tired and I can't wait to go home."


As he left the room, King thanked newspaper reporters for their coverage and indicated they hadn't been too hard on him, while joking that he would be happy to have a break from seeing the same faces.


He was clearly unaware and very surprised when he was informed that he is pencilled in for a press conference in Abbotstown this morning to reflect on his 10 days in the hot seat.

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