When most of us think of Mick McCarthy we think about a gruff, dry Yorkshireman who helped the Republic of Ireland through a difficult qualifying group to an unfortunate World Cup penalty shoot out defeat by Spain. There is, unsurprisingly, a lot more to our Barnsley born manager than that so we endeavoured to find somebody from across the Irish Sea who knows how Mick McCarthy works. Malachy Clerkin is a sportswriter for the Sunday Tribune in Dublin and he kindly agreed to give us an introduction to the man who will be in charge at Sunderland for the foreseeable future.
“The thing is, we liked Mick McCarthy over here. We really did. After all, what wasn't to like? The guy missed his brother’s wedding in order to win his second Ireland cap in a two-bit triangular tournament in China. He captained the country during its first World Cup back in 1990. He was also, and we took some sort of strange, perverse pride in this fact, the player who committed most fouls during that tournament. He learned the words to the national anthem and sang it at matches when the likes of Tony Cascarino kept schtum. He always said that his father would rather him to have played hurling for Waterford than football for Ireland. Little things, perhaps, but they all added up."
“And then when he came along and took over from Jack Charlton, a fool’s errand if ever there was one, we liked him even more. Where a few of the outer candidates squabbled over money, McCarthy just sat down and told the FAI he wanted the job and he didn’t much care how his wallet swelled. He spent a few delicate years weeding out all his old team mates and changed the playing style to something a little easier on the eye than we were used to."
“It worked, too. Performances improved and, but for a goal thirty seconds from time against Macedonia, they’d have made Euro 2000. That night was when the tide started turning against a touch. His tactics were all wrong, he had too many players behind the ball, the way he set his team up invited the Macedonians on in droves. After that night, It sometimes seemed he could get credit for nothing. Good results were the work of the players, bad ones the fault of the manager."
“And then there was Roy. That they didn’t like each other was the truth that dared not speak its name for the longest time. The uneasy peace between them was part of the energy that drove McCarthy’s team to last year’s World Cup. But the meltdown in Saipan was the beginning of the end for both men."
“It was then that we stopped liking Mick. He became defensive and snippy at press conferences; he took insults where none were intended. He said that people were either outside his tent pissing in or inside it pissing out. He made things personal. He really can’t afford to do that with Sunderland."
Malachy Clerkin, Sunday Tribune
Mick McCarthy has announced that his First Team Coach will be a man who has partnered him for a long time. While Mick McCarthy is a household name, his first team coach – and not assistant manager, as it is a title he loathes – is Ian Evans. Eamonn Carey of Irish radio station Newstalk 106 gave us a synopsis of Evans’s career.
“He’s a former international defender, Barnsley player, and member of both the Millwall and Irish managerial setup. Evans was a Welsh International Defender in the 1970s, and a player for Crystal Palace and Barnsley, where he played alongside a young Mick six years ago, where he took up the assistant manger’s post, as well as taking over the reins of the Under 21s team."
“Ian Evans always came across as the more tactically minded of the two, and his parade sergeant attitude towards training always seemed to stand out when the Irish team were training in Dublin."
“What will stand Evans in good stead is the fact that he will be very familiar with the many of the players who are at the Stadium of Light at the moment. Many of them will have worked with him at Under 21 level, and the likes of McAteer, Babb and Kilbane will be used to his training ground routine."
Eamonn Carey, Newstalk 106FM – Dublin
1959: Born Barnsley, February 7.
1977: Makes league debut for Barnsley.
1981: Helped Barnsley to promotion from Div 3.
1983: Moves to Man City in a transfer that sees Barnsley recoup their (then) largest transfer fee.
1984: Makes Republic of Ireland debut in 0-0 Lansdowne Road draw with Poland.
1985: Helps City win promotion to Division One.
1987: McCarthy joins Celtic after Man City are relegated to Division Two.
1987: Wins Scottish League and FA Cups with Celtic.
1989: Picks up second-successive Scottish Cup winners’ medal after 1-0 final win over Rangers.
1989: Joins French club Lyon.
1990: Returns to England and makes Millwall debut at Luton.
1990: Plays in all Ireland’s matches in final stages of World Cup as the Republic reach the quarter-finals before bowing out to hosts Italy.
1991: Succeeds Bruce Rioch as Millwall player-manager and plays last game for Lions in final match of the season.
1992: Wins last of fifty-seven Republic caps in 2-0 victory over Portugal in Boston.
1994: Steers Millwall to third place in Division One but Derby defeat them in Playoff semi-final.
1995: Guides Millwall to twelfth position after poor start.
1996: Takes Millwall to top of Division One but poor form sees the team in ninth position when he is appointed as Jack Charlton’s successor in February.
1997: November: Fails narrowly to qualify for ’98 World Cup after a playoff defeat by Belgium.
2001: Ireland qualify for 2002 World Cup alongside Portugal. Group favourites Holland stay at home.
2002: Skipper Roy Keane sent home from Far East before World Cup starts following a blazing row with McCarthy after criticism of Ireland’s facilities. A plucky Ireland side are eventually eliminated by Spain on spot kick in a game they should’ve won. McCarthy leaves post in November.
2003: Having been hot favourite to succeed Peter Reid back in October, the now out of work McCarthy is appointed as Sunderland boss after the departure of Howard Wilkinson and Steve Cotterill.