I Can Picture It Now...
One of keys to success, so they who know about these things claim, is to visualise it. That way, when it comes to the moment of truth, when your mettle is tested, it will feel like you have already done it before.
Being open of heart and generous of nature (just ask my servants) I have always longed for Steve Staunton to be a success as Ireland manager. Not just because, having the word "Eireannach" on my passport, it's expected; nor because of the long and dutiful service the lanky southpaw gave his country as a player.
Mainly, it was just so the poor wretch would not have to endure any longer the full, double-barrelled barrage of this nation's Industry of Ridicule, be they the amateur bar-room satirists of the general public and the (ahem) internet blogging community, or the professional firing squad of the media.
Such has been the torrent of denigration that Stan has endured (not all of it due to his 'interesting' team selections and 'minimalist' press conferences), it would not require Our Lady of Lourdes to wish for some mercy for the chap.
But back to the visualisation thing. In rooting for the guy, during those short interludes when his reign has been characterised by relative calm, I have often tried to picture success for the Louthman in the Ireland job. I have tried to visulaise Stan the Conquering Hero, striding onto the Croke Park turf - in Churchillian style, if you will - to take the acclaim after defeating Germany next month.
Or Stan the Master Tactician, who earns a respectful nod from Karel Bruckner, having just outwitted the grey Gandalf of European football in tonight's contest in Prague.
"A well deserved victory, Stephen, playing Richard Dunne up front - I had no idea. Alex Ferguson, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Capello and I are going for a Staropramen after the game, interested?"
"Ah no thanks Karel, I'd like to be with my boys."
Or Stan On The Late Late, spinning yarns to Pat about Mick Byrne's antics, recounting funny tales of the trip to the finals in Austria and Switzerland, holding the audience rapt, until Bono and Larry Mullen come in to present him with, I don't know, a saxaphone or something (I'm speculating on Stan having a rich cultural life, unbeknownst to his persecutors in the outside world).
But....I'm struggling. All I can see is Stan the Sacked, Stan the Bitter, Stan Blaming the Media, Stan the Newspaper Column Aimed At Taking Potshots At His Successor. I can see all them dancing in my brain like the results of a particularly bad acid trip. Stan the Success? He seems to have gone the way of Michael O'Leary the Humble, or Beckham the Publicity Shy.
I just hope Stan's better at this visualisation lark than I am.