With Ireland now at the midway point of their World Cup qualifying campaign, one of the longest serving members of the squad has given a rare insight in to the life inside the Irish team’s dressing room, team Kitman Dick Redmond.
Redmond recalls the impact Martin O’Neill has had since taking the reins in 2013 stating that one of manager’s biggest pet hates is seeing players with their hands in their pockets, charging them an instant €5 fine if caught out. He reveals that all fines go toward the annual Kitmen’s Christmas Party and his biggest ally in making sure the kitty is as full as possible is assistant manager Roy Keane who is more than happy to quickly point out any guilty members of the squad.
“When the boss talks, it goes really quiet. They walk out, and they’re a little bit taller. His team talks are just incredible. Fellas just want to go out there and die for the shirt”.
Known affectionately among his peers as Kitman Dick, the 60 year old Dubliner became a hero of the Irish supporters when a video of him donning a Superman costume and flying into the team’s dressing room to celebrate Ireland qualifying for Euro 2016 went viral. And hopefully that’s not the last we’ll see of the Kitman’s antics as he says if Ireland qualify for Russia 2018 “there’ll be plenty more surprises coming from this end of the table!”
Speaking on his close relationship with the players Dick reminisces that during FAI Hall of Famer Robbie Keane’s captaincy, the last thing he would do before leaving the dressing room was to have Dick place the captain’s armband on him, a tradition which has continued on to his successor and current team captain Seamus Coleman.
As the man who prepares the team for every game, alongside fellow longstanding kitman Mick Lawlor, Redmond has experienced every emotion in a rollercoaster career of highs and lows but would he change it for anything? Not a chance! “It’s my passion, it’s my hobby, this is my life.”