Will he stay or will he go?

Fickle fans, angry journalists, bickering bureaucrats, tossed jumpers and/or promises of a club job? All the ingredients to the Lawrie Sanchez saga, which could leave the Windsor Park fans crying in their celebratory beers…..

  • slug

    Just heard an interview with the Radio 5 commentator.

    1. He seems to think that there was an agenda on the part of a number of NI journalists to get rid of Sanchez and relations with the Belfast media had become frosty.

    2. The IFA have been meeting to see what they can do to keep Lawrie.

    3. Lawrie is keen to move on to club management. The Radio 5 guy said that Lawrie is known to take the view that jobs can come up during season and he might want to be available for that.

    4. Lawrie is also known to think that you should not stay more than 4 years in an International job and he has been at NI for 2+ years now.

    However Jim Boyce is confident that Lawrie will serve out his contract which goes to 2007.

  • Everyone’s making comparisons between the Sanchez and Blair stories. My favourite comparison so far is on this bbcni blog:

    “So it looks like Sanchez may not be talking because he’s thinking of walking; while Blair is talking to avoid walking.”

  • Samwise

    Brilliant Ludo

  • fair_deal

    “on the part of a number of NI journalists”

    aka Stephen Beacom

  • AchNo

    Nice one Ludo – anyone know who wrote that?

  • Brendan, Belfast

    as one who follows NIs fortunes with interest rather than fanatical support i have to say that the Telegraph’s reporting post the Iceland match was way, way over the top.

    yesterday they were inviting people to bet on Sanchez getting sacked!wouldn’t blame if he walked and i think the meeja are culpable on this one.

  • Helluvapitch

    AchNo, follow the link in Ludo’s name. Duh! 😉

  • Realist

    I believe that Northern Ireland will be searching for a new manager from lunchtime tomorrow, and that Lawrie Sanchez will be appointed manager at a Yorkshire based Championship club, by the end of next week.

  • wowee

    Well I 4 1 will be sad 2 c him go….wot a job he’s done with that team eh?

    Pity some of the fans didn’t appreciate him a bit more.

  • surrealist

    Realist, just finished wiping the egg of my face after I made the crap Tescos joke earlier this wek.

    Have to say NI and their fans were absolutely brilliant last night and I really enjoyed the game.

    Interesting to see if your Yorkhire hint leeds in the right direction or whether you will be proven to be a Wise Owl or not.

  • I’m very worried about this. Having read some of the comments posted at OWC I fear the worst.

    It’ll be a sad, sad day if Lawrie leaves.

  • Aidan

    While some of the defending against Iceland was terrible, I thought criticism of the team was way over the top, as NI could have easily scored 2 or 3 goals themselves.

    But surely if he really wanted to stay, he would, regardless of a few journalists spouting off?

  • English

    It takes the English to sort you lot out – remember this average manager when he is gone.

  • blackwell

    Lawrie loads of leeds as to where im going see youse. if youd have paid me what sven got i’d have built my jacuzzi in windsor avenue but bye bye Ni and hopefully hello premiership next year

  • Billy

    Who can blame the guy if he goes?

    He’s given NI some of their best results for many years and, after 1 bad result, he gets disgraceful treatment from the “fans” and the so-called media (particularly Beacom).

    An aspect that a lot of NI fans don’t want to face up to is that NI manager is NOT a big job. Almost any Championship club would pay more and LS has always been clear that he would like to move back into day-to-day club management one day.

    I truly think that he would have been prepared to wait until after the Euro 2008 qualifiers (let’s face it – he’s done well but NI won’t be there).

    However, he has now seen what the reaction is after 1 poor performance. Why should he turn down a chance to manage a club in the Championship in order to subject himself to similar abuse in the future?

  • IJP

    Brendan, Belfast, Billy and co,

    Spot on, I fear.

  • norman

    Sanchez has changed northern ireland from a team that didn’t score a goal for 13 matches to beating England & Spain.

    They have no chance of qualifying for the Euro’s but coming from were they have, they have done well.

    I think many supporters have lost the plot with regard to their immediate expectations, as have the media.

    Perhaps if Sanchez calls it a day, it might bring people back to reality. A team that has progressed in the last 18 months but has few players playing in the premiership and a squad of lower division players cannot be expected to qualify for a major championship.

  • Alan

    “A team that has progressed in the last 18 months but has few players playing in the premiership and a squad of lower division players cannot be expected to qualify for a major championship. ”

    Now there’s a challenge!

  • Realist

    “Realist, just finished wiping the egg of my face after I made the crap Tescos joke earlier this wek.

    Have to say NI and their fans were absolutely brilliant last night and I really enjoyed the game.”


    I’ll not be rubbing the egg in.

    Fair play to you for your comments – I was a fantastic game, and the fans played their part.

  • Yokel

    English. If England was such a source of anything then why’d you have Swede in managing England for years and why most of the top managers in the top English league not English.

    Secondly, Lawrie Snachez, his ma was from here hs da from Ecaudor, pure English blood in those veins…yes obviously.

    Now go back into your your small box.

    Ok so Lawrie has done plenty of useful stuff but there are good, if not better people to take his place. His motivation skills are great but his tactical nous can be lacking on occasion so I dont think it would be mission impossible to find someone who could continue to boot the team up the rear and just provide a bit more tactical skill.

    Doesn’t do much for consistency and if he would stay that would be good all round but not exactly death if he does go.

  • Doctor Who

    A case of a mountain and mole hill here.

    We got duffed comprehensively by Iceland, whatever our expectations are we are a better team than that scoreline suggests.

    But hey that´s football, we have days like Saturday and nights like Wednesday, it´s no secret that football fans are the most fickle in sport and Sanchez has made no secret of his ambitions to manage in the premiership.

    So then we come to the weasel Beacom, Stephen God bless him knows very little about football, his competence as a journalist is equally as bad. This is the same person who never once questioned the tactics of Sammy McIlroy throughout that appaling loosing and non scoring run.

    If Sanchez is going to loose sleep over second rate journalists, well perhaps he needs to ask himself is he up to the task.

  • Doctor, I think Beacom and friends may just be the tip of the iceberg and that there’s somethng much more serious behind this.

  • Doctor Who

    Certainly Beano that seems to be the case. However if Sanchez was to walk and blame the media…for a. appearing to take the side of George McCartney for not playing. b. accusing Sanchez of being ready to walk when the first premiership job comes up.

    Dont forget the media blame Lawrie on Jimmy Nicholl not getting the job, and weasels like Beacom don´t like to be proved wrong.

    It does appear that Lawrie has the backing of the IFA, the GAWA and the bulk of the playing staff at his disposal.

  • Realist

    Nothing to do with press criticism – that’s a convenient smokescreen.

  • Doctor Who

    So perhaps Realist, you can enlighten us.

  • Ziznivy

    The Insider column of the Tele tonight has Sanchez set for the Leeds job and Blackwell being fired.

  • John East Belfast

    We are 4 weeks off the Denmark game and the team doesnt need this pissing about.

    I think it is disgraceful if Sanchez is not prepared to see his contract out – if that was the case he should have left a few months back to allow us to get someone else.

    I have never heard such guff about his complaints with the press – the local Northern Irish ones at that – every football managers get stick – it goes with the territory.

    It was a laugh hearing Jimmy Boyce on Radio Ulster this am saying as President he was totally in control even though his manager had gone AWOL and he hadnt been able to contact him.

    I think the IFA should be giving him an ultimatum and start expecting from the Manager what he expects from the players.
    Sanchez was pretty quick to deal with McCartney, Mulryne and Whitley for lack of discipline and commitment but the IFA are pussy footing around him

  • John East Belfast

    Doctor Who

    “Certainly Beano that seems to be the case. However if Sanchez was to walk and blame the media…for a. appearing to take the side of George McCartney for not playing”

    I have been wondering if the McCartney factor is the issue here – and I hope it is as it is a ridiculous situation that needs sorted

    NI has a terminal, almost fatal, Left Back problem. We have the perfect solution in G McC, formerly Sunderland and now back in the Premiership with West Ham.

    He wont play for Sanchez and Sanchez wont let him play.
    The reason being over an alleged faking of an injury ?
    something that could only be described as a matter of opinion.

    McCartney has been making noises about wanting to return.

    Surely to goodness in NI of all places we have enough people with Conflict Resolution experience who could sort this out and save face for both ?

    I admire greatly what Sanchez has done and that cant be taken away from him but I think NI has other potential managers but we dont have any Left Backs

    ie we need McCartney more than Sanchez

    Maybe that is what this is all about ?

  • Doctor Who

    When McCartney first broke into the team, he was very selective of what games he wanted to play. He even pulled a “Bergkamp” and said he was frightened of flying.
    Sanchez quietly questioned his commitment, as did GAWA, it was McCartney who decided to go public and turn it personal.

    We certainly don´t need McCartney before Sanchez and any such suggestion is quite frankly bollox.

  • John East Belfast

    Doctor Who

    England and Brazil are blessed with Cole and Carlos but most of the world struggles at Left Back.

    NI struggle everywhere with at best three regular Premiership starts.

    Meanwhile everyone knows it is a particular problem for us – I dont blame Capaldi who is more of a left mid field for Plymouth and is good going forward. However it is our known wink link and where the opposition exploit.
    Iceland did their homework as well but we somehow came out last Saturday and it looked as if Sanchez hadnt given it a thought.

    Anyhow last Saturday is history.

    Meanwhile McCartney, when fit, could be playing regular Premiership with perhaps West Ham moving Eltherington (I think) more forward.

    Ie NI has a Left Back Premiership player and there is all this bollocking around going on.

    I was hoping somebody had a word in Sanchez’z ear last Saturday and told him to get the matter sorted. Maybe that has pissed him off and he has some kind of DUP attitude to principle and compromises.

    Get a mediator, have a press conference, shake on it and move on.

    If Sanchez is blocking that then once again it calls his judgement into serious question.

    Add that to the current pissing about and the fact that he wants to manage somewhere else means his commitment is more questionable than McCartneys.

    McCartney will be around NI when Sanchez is long gone.

  • Ziznivy

    McCartney’s attitude has been pathetic to be brutally honest. Now he’s sniffing around wanting to play for the side again and Sanchez is quite rightly obstructing it. We need players who are fully committed. We don’t need those who will throw their toys out of the pram after a barney with the manager or who won’t fly to Armenia because “it’s too close to Iraq”. Our problem at left-back can’t come into the equation. This is a matter of principle.

    The discipline of the squad has improved immeasurably from the days of Hamilton, McMenemy and McIlroy. That’s one of Sanchez’s achievements. This has caused some casualties but it has raised the spirit in the squad and the performance level beyond recognition.

  • Realist

    “So perhaps Realist, you can enlighten us”

    Doctor Who,

    I firmly believe that a Club is involved, despite the denials of Mr Wells.

    I believe that the IFA are begging Lawrie to continue in the NI job on a job share basis.

    The difficulty might be that the Club won’t entertain a job share.

    Remember Portsmouth earlier in the year?

    Lawrie has made enquiries about more than one club job over the past twelve months.

    The IFA handling of this situation is embarrassing, and I think they have further embarrassment awaiting them next week, when Lawrie calls the shots.

    It could be that the CE’s position becomes untenable.

    Just my take on it.

  • JEB, I disagree. McCartney wanted to play for NI only when it suited him and that’s not the kind of player any team needs.

    Sanchez has instilled the discipline in the squad that was so clearly lacking under the previous regime(s), and for that alone we’re in his debt.

    If, and I stress if, Sanchez is simply looking at a club offer you may have a point but I will reserve judgement until his position is clarified, hopefully on Monday or Tuesday.

  • norman

    If Lawrie jums ship just like McIlroy, who’s in the frame to replace him
    -I’m sick of managers running back across the water at the first chance of a ‘glamorous’ job like Stockport County.

    Why not look closer to home for someone local who is a good proud Ulsterman with a great managerial record-

    Step forward Big Davy Jeffrey. I think he would do a great job.

  • young newt

    I take it you are a sad deluded Blue Man, Normski.

    I think Big Davy might be out of his depth tactically at international level.

    As well as that, his media skills are somewhat basic to say the least.

    Better sticking to the old comfort zone with the route one rubbish and hammering the likes of Larne twenty-nil.

    But hard luck this year Davy-Windy Millar and the boys will stuff you in every tournament-

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!

  • pete

    Just heard Lawrie is staying, thank goodness.

    You certainly called that one right (not), Realist, with your Leeds tip.

    Do us a favour mate-If u get a tip for a horse, keep it to yourself

  • Pete – you got a link?

    The IFA announced last night that Lawrie wanted to stay but that there was “an issue”. They said everything would be confirmed early next week and that’s the last I’ve heard.

  • John East Belfast

    Ziznivy, Beano

    You cant for sure say that McCartney has a commitment problem – maybe he did once – maybe there were reasons ?
    So what if he wants to come back now when he sees he could be part of legendary nights like England and Spain.

    If he is a Premiership starting Left Back we simply dont have the luxury of giving him the one finger.

    Some players need a kick up the arse some need their egos massaged – that’s the managers job and he needs to have the ability to do all.

    I am not going to believe one line or the other re McCartney and unless there is our NI identity illness problem at play here (like that new guy Gibson from Derry who wants to play for ROI) then it is all a matter of ill informed opinion.
    McCartney is a professional and if he was that half hearted he wouldnt have just entered the Premiership again – the year Sunderland gained promotion the fans voted him player of the year.

    Therefore why should he have an attitide problem to NI – he knows he is playing for his personal pride as well as his team mates – I am not going to jump on the band wagon that says he lacks commitment – how the hell would any of us know that ?
    That is the line being put about by Sanchez and it his job to get the best from him not exile him.

    The only fact I am interested in is if he plays Left Back for West Ham and says he wants to play for NI – that’s all that matters. He should be in the squad and probably in the starting line up.
    Even a half hearted McCartney would still strengthen the defence.

    We didnt see the ROI take that stand against Keane post McCarthy

  • Pete Baker


    Try this one

  • Thanks Pete.

  • Doctor Who


    That is a fair shout. However Sanchez has never hidden his desire to manage a big club and if he continues to get great scorelines for Northern Ireland, interest will come from clubs. The bulk of the playing staff, the IFA and GAWA hopes he will stay. Prats like Beacom on the other hand want him to go, so they then can smuggly tells us they told us so.

    Now it looks like he will stay lets hope the weasel at the Belfast Telegraph, gives him a bit of credit.

    If George McCartney wants to play he should openly say so, Sanchez has not publicly ctitcised him in the manner George has done to Lawrie. George should remember that a footballers playing carreer doesn´t last very long, he has already missed out on a couple of great nights. He should swallow a slice of humble pie and publicly apologise to Sanchez and the GAWA for his downright arrogant attitude.

    We need all the premiership players playing internationals but we certainly can´t let them dictate who they want to manage them. Sanchez´s mixed results so far have been infinitely better than those of his two predecessors, so everyone should be supporting him.

  • Ziznivy

    If the republic had any guts Keane would have been out.

    My Da needs his ego messaged, but it’s not going to happen.

  • John East Belfast

    Doctor Who

    “He should swallow a slice of humble pie and publicly apologise to Sanchez and the GAWA for his downright arrogant attitude.”

    Are you mad ?

    A NI premiership Left back ?

    Allegedly McCartney’s story is he was forced by Sanchez to play with an injury after Sachez accused him of feigning injury and then threatened to do a French Makelele on him.

    Maybe Sanchez had a point – maybe McCartney does.

    Either way somebody should get it sorted with both saving face and then we move on.

    The only thing that matters is winning.

  • Realist

    Lawrie’s statement is truly remarkable in many ways.

    Football managers get praised when they get things right and criticised when they get things wrong – bit like most of us in our jobs.


    I didn’t get a “tip”. I think there had been a lot of speculation fuelled by the poor handling of this sorry saga by Lawrie, the IFA and sections of the media. It was certainly a very fluid situation on Thusday and Friday.

    I believe that Lawrie had effectively gone after the game on Wednesday, and it was through begging by the IFA on Thursday and Friday, that Lawrie has had a change of heart.

    It was certainly the case on Thusday evening that people within the IFA were admitting that “things were not looking good” and that a press conference was being planned for Friday.

    Doctor Who,

    “However Sanchez has never hidden his desire to manage a big club and if he continues to get great scorelines for Northern Ireland, interest will come from clubs”

    Exactly right – from day one, Lawrie knew that if he did anything at all with Northern Ireland (and, let’s face it, it couldn’t have gotten much worse), it would open the doors to a move to a club across the water.

    You will also be aware that he has often hinted that, if the right opportunity came along, he would consider doing the Northern Ireland job on a “job share” with the club.

    That may well be the case, before too long.

    As for the current denials by Lawrie about any club being involved in recent events, I’ll remain sceptical, given the Portsmouth debacle earlier this year.

    Anyway, Roll on Denmark and Latvia next month.