DUNDALK manager Sean McCaffrey came out fighting in his post match interview following his side’s 2-1 defeat to bottom of the table Monaghan United on Friday night.
The Lilywhites led through Michael Rafter’s goal after just 20 seconds of play only to see Monaghan United fight back and record just their second win of the season thanks to a Jordan Keegan double.
The result leaves Monaghan just one point behind Dundalk at the foot of the table and speaking afterwards, McCaffrey displayed signs of a man feeling the pressure.
“I’m certainly not going to walk away or quit and I won’t let the verbal abuse that we’re getting annoy me. I know what I’m doing and I’ll stick at what I’m doing and hopefully things will turn.”
When asked by LMFM’s Gerry Malone if was he getting verbal abuse, McCaffrey became agitated.
“Are you deaf?”, he asked. “Are you deaf? You can’t hear what’s going on?.”
When Malone said that he couldn’t hear any verbals being thrown from his position in the press-box, McCaffrey replied: “I don’t want to talk about it. All I can say is that I am getting it. There is three or four constantly shouting abuse but maybe they’ll do us a favour some night and cross the wall. That’ll end the abuse.”
McCaffrey then said that he expected the board to give him time to turn things around.
“I don’t see why they won’t. The budgets been halved. We’ve about 25 or 30 percent of the budget that the top teams have and when you have so many young inexperienced players, you need time. I said that before a ball was kicked and that’s what I firmly believe. Whether they give me time is down to them, I can’t change that.”
When this reporter put it to him that the club’s supporters were unhappy with Dundalk’s position in the league table, sitting below teams with lower budgets than the Lilywhites, McCaffrey started to lose his cool, going on to suggest that Bray Wanderers, Monaghan United and Drogheda United all had bigger budgets than Dundalk.
“We have a bigger budget do we? They (fans) know that for definite do they?”
When it was remarked that Bray Wanderers Director of Football Pat Devlin wasn’t getting paid for his role, McCaffrey hit back and said he believed in his methods.
“I’m sure nobody is getting paid cash”, he said.
“When you have a young side you need time. Ours is about trying to build a structure in the club where we have a good side and a good system of young players coming through and trying to push players on and take their place.
“If you want short term success, take out the cheque book. With all due respect to short term success, we have seen it at Shels and Bohs and Drogheda and other clubs and we seen the end result of it. All those clubs nearly went out of business because of it.
“You can’t pick a strategy at the start of the year, decide on how you’re going to develop the club and then as soon as there is some sort of mini crisis you are out the door and changing it. I know we have good players here and I know they’ll come good. I don’t think we’ll be relegated.”
When it was remarked that at this juncture, 12 months ago, Dundalk were in a Setanta Cup final with a budget of p1.5k to p2k more than what he has at his disposal, McCaffrey let rip.
“It was p2.5k more”, he said. “Ian Foster was on about p1000 a week. I’m not on a quarter of that. You’re putting out stuff about the budget, he had a car and his house paid for. Jason Byrne was taking home p875 a week.”
McCaffrey admitted he did not know what Byrne was on with Bray this season and refused to say whether he offered him a deal to stay at Oriel Park this year.
He was then asked about Simon Madden and Keith Ward, two more of last year’s squad who were keen to stay at the club this year.
“Simon Madden’s not good enough in my opinion so I’m happy that he’s gone. Keith Ward is a decent player. He wanted to go to Bohs. We made him a better offer but he wanted to train in Dublin. But I’m not going into all that with you”.
When I replied that they were questions that the club’s supporters were asking, McCaffrey lost his cool.
“It’s not what fans are asking”, he said. “It’s what you’re asking. I can f*****g hear you, it’s what you are asking. You always maintain that you know what is going on with the fans, that you’re representing the fans. Well I get plenty of calls on the phone and I talk to plenty of fans.”
The Dundalk boss then rounded on last season’s squad, asking how many points they picked up in their final 11 games. When I replied it was around 12, McCaffrey repeatedly said, “check your facts, it wasn’t a name on 12”.