The IFA's Elite Player Mentor, Gerry Armstrong, has issued a robust warning to those who are considering changing from the IFA to the FAI. He is urging them “to look before [they] leap”.
In his recent newspaper column for the Sunday Life, Armstrong has penned his most embarrassing article to date, an article which is characterised by an astonishing level of paranoia and outright ignorance. Indeed, such is the utterly delusional nature of his rambling that one might be forgiven for mistaking it for the blind-rage-fuelled rhetoric of the conspiracy theorists who accuse the FAI of sectarianism and plotting the downfall of the IFA. In fact, I suspect the column may, in fact, be the work of a conniving ghost-writer, but enough of my conspiracy theories.
“I've thought for some time and I still hold the view that the predator that is the FAI is simply taking players for the sake of it and at the same time knowing they are depriving Northern Ireland.”- Gerry Armstrong.
In describing the FAI as a “predator”, Armstrong's credibility begins to crack, before it crumbles entirely with his erroneous statement that the FAI “may be within their rights because of the Good Friday Agreement”, concluding with his perfect moral compass that “what they are doing is morally wrong”. Two things: not only does the Good Friday Agreement have nothing to do with the scenario and since when did Gerry Armstrong and the IFA have a monopoly on moral judgement (and that's completely disregarding the fact that they too, are in the business of “poaching”)? Someone should remind him that they do not exist in a bubble.
Not content with flaunting his ignorance in those statements, the former international then goes on to expose what is quite an insulting and narrow-minded viewpoint - that national team eligibility should be determined by where one was born, not nationality - and that, my friends, just about sums the mindset up.
For, you see, the simple fact is that the IFA is as self-interested as any other football association. It does not possess the moral high-ground that it so foolishly tries to claim. Its agents have indulged and continue to indulge in the same type of “poaching” it claims to be a victim of and, crucially, it does not own players who are eligible for its teams.
Just read the CAS ruling, Gerry, or at least have a look at Daniel Collins' piece on the matter. Good man.