Surely to God Don Givens’ number must be nearly up as boss of the Irish Under-21s.
Wednesday night’s 1-2 loss to Armenia in Tallaght was their third defeat in seven Euro qualifying games (the other four all draws) and followed a 4-1 mauling by the same opposition away last November. Not surprisingly Ireland are rock bottom of group 2 and going nowhere fast.
Though once the country’s record goalscorer (a tally that took so long for others to emulate but which has been more than doubled by Robbie Keane), Givens’ record as a gaffer is simply atrocious. If the manager of the senior national side presided over such a sequence of results he’d be run out of town. Ask Steve Staunton.
The Limerick man, though, seems to have the job for as long as he wants it. So highly-thought-of is he within the FAI that he was on the three-man headhunting committee who recommended Giovanni Trapattoni as Staunton’s successor (once Denis O’Brien came up with the cash).
But there must be plenty of better candidates John Delaney could appoint, and ideally someone capable of being groomed for the top job down the line.
The U21s’ next and last home qualifying game is against Estonia in August, when Givens turns 61. While a decent fella (and anyone who has a pop at Stephen Ireland is, in my book), he’s a lame duck manager, and the autumn international should be Don’s swansong.