HOUSE OF FOOTBALL: Love Island, FAI funding and the life of a League of Ireland manager
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"We weren't really looked upon necessarily with a great fondness or affection."
Keith Long is a long established League of Ireland legend, having played over a dozen years in the league before transitioning to management. He also had a stint at Stoke City as a promising teenager.
Long, who was our latest guest on House of Football, spent three years with The Potters before he returned to Dundalk in 1993. After hanging up his boots in 2005, he eventually made the managerial jump and managed Bray, Athlone and Bohemians before his current gig at Waterford United.
During the show, the 49-year-old spoke very well on how tough life was for him, and many other Irish youngsters, in England as the sectarian Troubles raged on.
"It was difficult for me to live in England, away from home," Long reflected. "At that particular time, we were living in Stoke. It's not the most glamorous of towns; a bit humdrum.
"You go to Stoke now, they've got an unbelievable academy and unbelievable training centre. Lots of high network individuals pumping a lot of money into the football club.
"It was different back when, when we were there early 90s, at the end of The Troubles. There was stuff going on. We weren't really looked upon necessarily with a great fondness or affection. You know - 'These are Irish boys are coming into our club to take away our jobs' and that type of stuff.
"So there was a little bit of negativity and that sort of stigma that you were Irish in England at that time. We're talking about early 90s. So 30-odd years ago."
"In the past 10 years," Long added, "it shows you how much we've travelled, how much different it is for the modern day player to go away. They've got player liaison officers, they got people that look after them, welfare officers within the academy systems.
"It was sink or swim. It made you grow up very quickly. I think my mom would have said that to my sisters that he went away, a boy and came back a man."
“These are Irish boys, they’re coming into our club to take away our jobs”
Keith Long on the 'stigma' he faced moving to England in the 90's.
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Keith Long opens lid on life as an LOI manager
Also discussed on the show:
- Reaction to the proposed FAI funding call
- Balancing work, life and family as a League of Ireland manager
- Keith Long on the current situation at Waterford United
- LOI players doing Love Island
You can listen to the full show below.
Or watch it here:
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