Gerry McAnaney, one of the candidates for vice president at Saturday's FAI annual general meeting (AGM) insists he will help herald a new era of transparency within the association in order to restore public confidence as well as the financial backing of all stakeholders.

McAnaney has been involved in Irish football for 20 years and currently represents the Defence Forces on the FAI National Council.

A critic of the former administration and committee system, the retired army officer is adamant he will be a "fresh face" at board level and "an agent of change" within the FAI.

He faces competition from incumbent vice president Noel Fitzroy, as well as Paul Cooke, the former managing director of newspapers the Daily Star and Sunday Business Post.

"My only agenda has ever been the welfare of the game," said McAnaney. "I have always been an independent voice and for that reason I would have been on disciplinary panels, appeal boards, and through that people would see me as an honest broker – I would be seen as independent, straight and down the middle.

"Because of the committee structure, there was never an opportunity for people from smaller elements of the game – such as the Defence Forces, Football For All and Universities etc - to make a huge impact or get to the board.

"There were very limited opportunities. I'd see myself as an agent of change in the FAI and, with any change, it must be meaningful.

"The FAI have to be transparent. At board level I would be a fresh face but not a fresh face to football," McAnaney continued. "Election to the board was never an option for me but, under the new governance structure laid out by the Sport Ireland/FAI Governance Review Group, that has opened up for smaller affiliates."

It is that desire to be a part of change which McAnaney says is driving his bid to finally gain election after two decades of involvement.

"The first thing that needs to happen is confidence being restored. Trust with the public, government, and stakeholders is vital – we must also demonstrate complete transparency with how we conduct all our business.

"The FAI board must be accountable for all its actions, and also normalise all relationships with the association's partners – the public, stakeholders, government and supporters."

With Sport Ireland having made it clear that they want to see a completely new FAI board installed in order to restore their funding to the association, and Sports Minister Shane Ross sending a letter urging current president Donal Conway not to stand unopposed for re-election at the AGM, McAnaney feels the FAI need to make a statement of intent with their future appointments.

"If we appoint the right CEO, people will look and say, 'wow, that’s some appointment’. We must look for the best available to show people the FAI has really reached out and made the right appointment to show they mean business.

"Let me be clear, we are a democratic organisation and anybody suitably qualified can put their name forward for election. However, everyone must be mindful of the effect their election could have on the association’s ability to overcome the current crisis and regain that trust, confidence and, of course, the funding.

"We must get back on an even keel. The key matter here really is all about trust and rebuilding those relationships. If we can do that, the FAI will be in a much better place to restore that confidence as quickly as possible."