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Carmen legend calls for end of paid club managers

Former Carrickmore star Plunkett McCallan.

Former Carrickmore goalkeeper Plunkett McCallan has backed newly installed GAA President John Horan’s call for clubs to end payment to managers.

Off the books payments to outside bainisteoirs has been a hot topic in recent years and at Congress last weekend Horan said it needs to stop if the Association is to maintain its amateur ethos.

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A well known face in the Tyrone club game, McCallan has taken over the reins at Intermediate team Cookstown for the upcoming season.

During his career, ‘Oz’, as he is popularly known, won six O’Neill Cup medals with Carmen and has the unique distinction of playing in 15 senior county football finals in total.

There is widespread anecdotal evidence of local businessmen paying money to outside managers, a practice that the new GAA President Horan said he had encountered during his time as Leinster Council chairman.

“There are occasions when you get an outside manager to come in and we accept that and give him his legitimate expenses but don’t be giving him a lump sum” argued Horan.

“I’m not getting into specifics but I know one particular club where the football manager is a volunteer, and did it all, and a group of people decided to collect money among the hurling fraternity and paid an outside manager. It wasn’t on the books or anything like that.

“What rule were you going to apply there where somebody goes down the road and gets the local publican to look after the man who looks after the hurling team? Rules just aren’t going to work.

“We’ve got to get people to buy into an ethos and a value within the organisation. You have to say within your club, ‘I don’t agree with that and I think we should row back.’

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A vote to stop the use of ‘outside’ managers at clubs was defeated at Congress, however Plunkett McCallan believes that is missing the overall problem which he stresses can only be resolved by clubs stopping the payments.

“The world we live in, people seemed to be judged by how much they charge. A few clubs have approached me with money but money never interested me.

“Money is not my God and I am getting by okay. It is about the enjoyment and what is most important is to try and leave a club in a better place than you got it.

“I am strictly getting diesel expenses and it is not too far from Carrickmore to Cookstown. I’d find it very hard to ask for money.

“It seems if a manager asks for £200 a week he gets more respect.

“It is ridiculous, a myth and hopefully the bubble will burst and clubs will come to see that it is not financially viable or sustainable.”

Enjoying his first experience at club management, Plunkett added, I don’t feel the added pressure of £200 or £300 a week. Neither do I see outside men as the problem.

“My own club is well set up with management and I wanted a challenge. I will learn from good days and bad days and find out whether I’ll be a good manager.

“Just because I played club football for years is no guarantee. As the man says, ‘Everyone who lives beside the sea is not a great fisherman.’

“They’re a great group of lads and I’ll do my very best and enjoy it.”

However the controversial topic of paid club managers sits very uneasy with Oz.

“It is going to have to stop. With the rate of inflation these managers will expect more and more.

“I have heard of fundraisers to raise money for manager payments. That is ridiculous. I have no issue with full time GAA coaches but these are men with jobs earning extra in clubs.

“You have to blame the clubs involved. They’re putting up the money and it is impossible to stop by the rule makers.

“Businesses as well would be better putting their money into youth development instead of spending colossal amounts now on managers and even getting success but have nothing coming behind for the future,” added the former Carrickmore star.

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