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Pat Spillane: Time for Tyrone boss Mickey Harte to step aside

Updated: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 17:15 | Comments

Spillane on Harte: 'He owes nothing to Tyrone, he's been absolutely brilliant'
Spillane on Harte: 'He owes nothing to Tyrone, he's been absolutely brilliant'

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RTÉ football analyst Pat Spillane says it’s time for Mickey Harte to step down as Tyrone boss.

The Red Hands exited the All-Ireland championship on Sunday following a three-point qualifier loss to Ulster rivals Armagh in Omagh.

Harte, who has been in charge of the county’s senior team since 2002, has won three All-Ireland titles with the last of those coming six years ago.

And former Kerry footballer Spillane believes the time is right for the Errigal Ciarán clubman to step aside.

He told RTÉ Sport: “I really do believe that it’s time for a change, fresh face, fresh voice, new ideas and [to] rebuild.

“There’s no doubt about it, he’s been an unbelievable manager, one of the top five, maybe the top three Gaelic football managers of all time.

“[He’s won] three All-Ireland titles, brought Tyrone from nowhere. He owes nothing to Tyrone, he’s been absolutely brilliant.

“Since 2008 this is the sixth year [and] aside from the league performances, it’s been fairly underwhelming. They’ve been poor in the Ulster Championship and they’ve suffered some fair hammerings from the likes of Dublin and Kerry.

“Tyrone played Kerry in Killarney [in the Allianz League in March], they suffered the biggest drubbing I think they ever had under Mickey Harte and that team that played in the second half – they threw in the towel and I’ve never ever seen a Tyrone team to throw in the towel under Mickey Harte.”

"The career of politicians and sports people always ends in failure"

Spillane reckons that Harte, like former Kerry boss Mick O’Dwyer, has remained too loyal to the players that brought him success in the last decade.

He added: “One of the problems with a successful manager, and it was a problem with Mick O’Dwyer in Kerry as well, is that you remain loyal to the guys who delivered All-Ireland titles.

“And I remember with Mick O’Dywer, he remained loyal to all of us when we were past our sell-by date and the problem was that in ’86, because he had remained loyal to so many of the old guys with lots of mileage, youngsters weren’t being brought through.

“Mickey, for about three years, remained loyal to the guys that had brought All-Ireland titles to him.

"The problem with that was a) they weren’t succeeding and b) it meant that new talent wasn’t being brought through to the senior ranks and what’s happening now is that the rebuilding that should have started four years ago is going on now and they’re in transition and they’re struggling.

“What’s that oft-repeated quotation - that the career of politicians and sports people always ends in failure - and that’s certainly true.” 

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