Witch-Hunt? Top Bosses Know That Criticism Is Part of Job; Expert Analysis from a Legend of the Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Bernard Flynn

READING Jim McGuinness' comments from the Allianz Football League launch on Monday, I was certainly taken aback.

Managers are certainly under pressure these days and, given the way structures are now, the League is big business and runs right up into the Championship. It simply has to be taken seriously and the day of turning it on when you feel like it is gone.

McGuinness certainly has a point in his criticism of the power wielded by college sides nowadays.

Several managers are under pressure and some might even be turfed out before the end of the League, yet many of them have very limited access to their players ahead of the competition.

The colleges have plenty of time to get together during the week, there's no need for them to be participating in tournaments like the O'Byrne Cup at the weekend.

The worst aspect of it is when you see young players caught up in the middle of a tug of war between different managers.

So while I think McGuinness is right to be irked in that sense, he is overdoing it elsewhere.

His comment about ex-players "making an awful lot of money on the back of people who are out of work on and trying their best for their county" is a bit over the top.

When you enter the inter-county arena as a player or a manager, you are exposing yourself to criticism. That's not a new phenomenon and, in fact, it has gone on for years.

The Meath team I played on was certainly no-one's second-favourite, but I didn't interpret that as a "witch-hunt" in the way McGuinness has in relation to comments made about his Donegal team since the outset of last year's Championship.

If a manager doesn't think his tactics and how he lays his team out isn't going to be discussed in the public arena, then he's in the wrong game.

Gaelic games are the most popular sports in the country and people are always going to have an opinion on them.

Some of them, myself included, are paid from time to time to give that opinion. …