Just over a year ago, March 16th 2019, journalist Mark Tighe fought and won a court injunction that would have stopped him and the Sunday Times reporting on a €100,000 ‘bridging loan’ to the FAI by the disgraced and humiliated John Delaney, the former CEO of the FAI. And the rest as they say is history. Now the two award winning journalists responsible for breaking that story and many more, Tighe and Paul Rowan are releasing their book Champagne Football on September 17th, get your pre sales here.
YBIG were happy to meet up with Mark Tighe earlier in the year and give our stories about the FAI. We are very proud of the work we have done over the years highlighting the incompetence of the FAI and Delaney in particular. A man that promised Champagne but delivered Buckfast.
While fans are excited about the new FAI, there still lingers some doubts about it’s ability to reform completely from top to bottom and if you’re a betting person you’d give it even odds on that happening, if you’re choosing a daily bet then visit this site. Recently Dundalk’s chairman, Bill Hulsizer highlighted these issues after a recent FAI and LOI working group meeting. So while we can look forward to reading Champagne Football, we must never lose sight of the road ahead and ensure another John Delaney type doesn’t take over again.
Over the course of fifteen years, John Delaney ran the Football Association of Ireland as his own personal fiefdom. He had his critics, but his power was never seriously challenged until last year, when Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan published a sequence of stories in the Sunday Times containing damaging revelations about his personal compensation and the parlous financial situation of the FAI. Delaney’s reputation as a great financial manager was left in tatters. He resigned under pressure, and the FAI was left hoping for a massive bail-out from the Irish taxpayer.
In Champagne Football, Tighe and Rowan dig deep into the story of Delaney’s career and of the FAI’s slide into ruin. They show how he surrounded himself with people learning code whose personal loyalty he could count on, and a board that failed to notice that the association’s finances were shot. They detail Delaney’s skilful cultivation of opinion-formers outside the FAI. And they document the culture of excess that Delaney presided over and benefited from, to the detriment of the organization he led.
Champagne Football is a gripping, sometimes darkly hilarious and often enraging piece of reporting by the award-winning journalists who finally pulled back the curtain on the FAI’s mismanagement.