Mick McCarthy has spoken of his regret at not leaving after World Cup 2002, his desire to get back into management and his lack of interest in discussing Saipan.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic, McCarthy spoke about his departure from the Ireland job and how he felt that continuing with the ongoing uncertainty made his position untenable.
“It was a non-starter that I was going to stay on, so the best course of action was to leave and let Stephen take it and then he can plan for it.”” said McCarthy.
He also believes that the situation could have been different had things not taken a significant reroute with the pandemic upheaval.
“I am absolutely convinced if we’d have won (the Slovakia matches) in June and qualified for next year, then everybody would have thought I’d have been taking the Euros. But that wasn’t to be.
“It’s unfortunate. But coronavirus has caused far more serious problems to a lot of people other than me.”
Naturally, any interview with McCarthy turns, in some way, to Saipan.
McCarthy rejected any notion that his career will be defined by the incident - and responded with the exasperation that most Irish football fans feel with the situation.
“No, am I ’eck?” McCarthy said. “It’s part of history now, that’s all.”
However, McCarthy revealed that he feels he should have left the Republic job right after the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
"Probably the mistake I made was that I should have left after the World Cup. I’m not going to talk about the other thing, Saipan and all that nonsense, because that’s 18 years ago.
"But had I known how that would have carried on afterwards — it was affecting all the players, it was still the talk of… it didn’t matter what we did, and it was affecting everybody. And had I known that — and I should have known that, really — I would have left.”
McCarthy maintains that he would like to continue as a manager now that he is back on the market, and - ideally - would look to join the ranks of Premier League managers that have managed 1,000 games.
“When you score in the last minute and you win, when that goal goes in, that euphoria, and that camaraderie that you have with your coaches and your staff and the players, when you dig something out of a lost cause and you end up equalising… you’ll never emulate those things in your life.”