The Ireland v Portugal World Cup qualifier, which at the time of writing this has still not taken place, was sold out within two hours of the tickets going on sale. That means that over 50 thousand tickets were sold. This is only the second game since 2018 in which the Aviva stadium was sold out for an Ireland game.
On the surface it may seem crazy as Ireland cannot qualify for the World Cup already and are going up against a team that I think they are almost certain to lose against. But it is about more than that, it is about the future, and I think it shows that the Irish supporters are behind Stephen Kenny in guiding this team into that future. A rocky first year at the helm for Stephen Kenny was improved by solid displays against Portugal and Serbia and then wins against Azerbaijan and Qatar helped this upward trajectory.
The squad acts as another reason for me to be hopeful for the future with more young talent in the squad now than ever before and the likes of Gavin Bazunu and Andrew Omobamidele would be enough to excite any fans with their potential. Whether Ireland wins or not, it’s not the point for me and those who share similar views.
Of course, there are other ways at looking at this news, from a another’s point of view maybe it’s just a lot of Man United and Cristiano Ronaldo fans buying tickets to see him, and they could not care less about Ireland. It is clear to me that that whether it is for the right reasons or not people do want to watch Ireland and they support Kenny.
It is clear that there is more exiting and expansive football played by a side that is young and hungry for a manager who wants to be there for the long haul, and this is something I don’t think I could have said about any Irish side before this now. From my perspective, the future looks bright.