CORK resident Gerry McAnaney admits that winning the vote to become the new President of the Football Association of Ireland is one of the greatest achievements of his life.
The former College Corinthians, Cobh Ramblers and Cork City goalkeeper defeated Sligo Rovers chairman Martin Heraghty by 88 votes to 40 at the association’s E.G.M in Blanchardstown on Saturday.
McAnaney, who has served on the FAI Council representing the Defence Forces for almost 20 years before moving to the Football for All sector, succeeds the outgoing Donal Conway in the position.
“To reach the top and to become the President of the Football Association, it probably ranks at the top of my own achievements,” he told the Echo.
“We all have our own achievements in life be they personal, be they sporting or be they career. It has been a labour of love for 40 years and this has given me great satisfaction, it is up there with the best of them.
“It’s a great honour to be president of the Football Association of Ireland. I’m 40 years in the game at all levels and to be chosen by your own members and such a vast turnout of members as well.
"148 people were there on Saturday for the second time in a month, in the middle of winter to go to Dublin for EGMs, it was really heartening for me to see that sort of turnout and it all bodes well for the future of the association.”
The former army officer will begin work immediately as he looks to improve the FAI’s communication, particularly at grassroots level.
“I have to read myself into the brief of presidency which I presume will take place during the week,” he added.
“There is a new interim CEO and deputy CEO - Gary Owens and Niall Quinn are starting Monday - so I will let them get their feet under the table. We will touch base on Monday and meet then early in the week to put a shape on it.
“Communication is key, I know Gary and Niall will be communicating with the staff on the professional side and I would see my role as communicating with the grassroots side meeting the people, hearing the problems and letting them know how the FAI is trying to fix these problems.”