Byline: EXCLUSIVE By NICOLA BYRNE
FORMER Manchester United giant Kevin Moran is one of the names being short-listed to lead Irish soccer into a brave new era.
The soccer legend, capped 71 times for the Republic between 1980 and 1994, is being strongly tipped as a contender for the new role of chief executive with the Football Association of Ireland.
The position, due to be set up in the wake of the Genesis report into Ireland's controversial World Cup oddysey to Japan and South Korea, will replace that of general secretary - abdicated by Brendan Menton this week.
And although the Scottish management consultancy who have put together the report hinted that it should be filled by a "non-football" person, it doesn't exclude the possibility of a suitably qualified candidate emerging from within the game.
His supporters say that Moran certainly fits into that category and would be an ideal appointment to the e126,000-a-year post.
"There are those who believe that a suitably qualified person with no roots in the game would be in a better position to manage our resources. But that's not an opinion shared by everyone," said a Merrion Square insider.
"At the end of the day, whoever takes this job is going to have to deal with football people and the commerce of football.
"That's a different type of business environment to the norm. Adam Crozier found that out to his cost with the English set up and I think we'd do well to take note of that."
Moran, who was not available for comment yesterday, has the necessary pedigree to head up the organisation.
A graduate of commerce from UCD, he's a chartered accountant by profession. Since quitting as a player in 1995, he's worked as an agent looking after some of the biggest names in British football, as well as involving himself in sport travel and television projects.
A Gaelic football idol who won two All-Ireland medals with Dublin before embarking on a soccer career with Manchester United in 1978, he would be perfectly positioned to improve the FAI's frosty relationship with the GAA, the other big player in Irish sport.
"It's a big job which will take a big personality to fill it, and some of us believe that he's the man to pull it off," said the FAI source.
Ironically, Moran, who didn't apply for the job of national team manager back in 1996, was head-hunted by the FAI and emerged as Mick McCarthy's close rival to replace Jack Charlton.
Other equally powerful voices within the FAI are likely to campaign for a new face …