Friday, 27 November 2009


Old Trafford's resident 'Aunty Scouse*' is back in the headlines today for his latest helping of LFC-bashing. The United stalwart - or is that just plain 'wart' for non United fans? - claims Liverpool got everything they deserved after being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages on Tuesday night.

As much as I loved THAT celebration all those years ago, I think it's time Gary buried the hatchet with his friends in the Republic of Scouseland*.  Why?  Because that very hatchet could end up lodged in the lad's spine should he attempt to intimidate the already irate Scouse mob any further.  My advice to Neville would be to let sleeping dog's lie.  After all, that's all Liverpool have been reduced to this season - or so it seems at the moment.  Let's leave the gloating until the end of the season.

Until then, as fourth choice right-back at United, Neville should perhaps let his feet do the talking. When John O'Shea, Wesley Orange Brown and one (possibly two) spotty Brazillian kids are ahead of you in the pecking order at the Theatre of Dreams, it's probably best to concentrate on winning your place back in the manager's plans.

Message to Gary:  Football first, Scouse*-bashing second, Chelsea third, Arsenal fourth... and 'with hope in our hearts' Liverpool a 'deserved' fifth ;)
* in this article, the term "Scouser" refers to the red side of Merseyside only.  Therefore I guess only Liverpool supporters should take offence if or where they feel the need to.

Friday, 20 November 2009


It's not everyday I'd agree with Roy Keane, but today in a BBC interview the most famous/infamous player to captain the Republic of Ireland was 100% correct.  The FAI are a laughing stock for begging FIFA for a replay of the ROI versus France game.  So are those I heard last night on FM 104, ranting to Adrian Kennedy about this planned protest at the French Embassy in Dublin today.  A bit of 'cop on' please, and stop feeling sorry for yourselves.  That old ship has sailed.

And just out of interest, what kind of reporter attends an interview and 'let's his phone ring out' instead of switching it to silent?? My vote goes to Dennis Pennis.  It's lucky Roy Keane has matured because in his earlier days as a player I believe that inparticular reporter's mobile telephone would be left ringing in a place where the Sun don't shine.  Couldn't believe the cheek of the lazy journo, he should apply for a job with the rest of the muppets at the Andersontown News.  The interview itself was controversial enough, without this clown so rudely interrupting...


Keane: Who's phone is that? That's the second time it's gone off.

Reporter:  I think that's my phone, sorry.


Keane: Why don't you turn it off? You're sitting there, that's the second time it's gone off.  Why don't you put it on silent?

Reporter: It's not the second time.

Keane: But why don't you turn it off??


Reporter:  I'll turn it off in a minute.

Keane: So you're just gonna let it ring?

Reporter: No, I'll try and let it ring out.  


Keane: Oh right... that's good manners.

PS:  I gather the reporter has never heard of Alf-Inge Haaland...

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Thierry Henry, take a bow son. In the space of four days you have just managed to de-throne Lassana Diarra as public enemy "numéro un" among the followers of the Republic of Ireland football team.

The Frenchman's technique to first control the ball with his arm then maneuver his hand to neatly cushion it into his path to set-up his team’s winning goal was sublime. In fact it should earn him a call up to the senior panel at Down GAA. They could do with talent such as that in their ranks.

In all seriousness though, ROI can quite rightly feel hard-done by. This was their best performance in the World Cup Qualifiers to date. They certainly saved their best ‘til last. Robbie Keane was a Trojan all night long. He was a real pain in the "derrière" for the French. The only time he stopped running was to compose himself for a fine finish to give the Republic the 1-0 victory over the 90 minutes.

In contrast, ‘Les Bleus’ were brutal. Chelsea striker Nickolas Anelka looked to be their only threat playing out of position on the left wing. The manager of France should quit while he’s ahead. I’m no expert on the French national team but leaving Benzema, Govou and Malouda out of the starting line-up? That was scandalous.

Not as scandalous as what was to occur in extra-time though. After much complaining that Anelka should have been awarded a penalty for a clear ‘dive’, and the numerous French off-sides which would you believe, were actually off-side, France were beginning to lose their cool. Yet another hopeful/hopeless (delete as appropriate) long ball punted forward which looked to be going out for a goal-kick. But step forward world superstar Thierry Henry, who would turn the tie on its head with one of the most blatant acts of cheating you will ever see in football. His resulting pass set-up William Gallas who would put an end to any plans the Irish had of topping up their tans in South Africa next summer.

While I was disgusted with what happened to the Republic of Ireland, I find it hilarious the calls being made for the match to be replayed. Are you serious Dermot? So, every time there is a controversial decision in a football match (which is every game in the EPL) the match should be automatically replayed. If that were the case then individual seasons might need to be prolonged by about ten years in order to get the fixtures completed.

It has only been 12 hours since that treacherous act took place in Stade de France and already I'm fed up with the constant moans about how 'unfair' it was to lose.  Let’s not lose sight of the fact that over the two legs France scored two goals in total, and the Irish scored one. The Henry hand-ball was bad but it’s not the first time a legend of the game has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. ‘The Hand of God’ in the 1986 World Cup where Maradona scored with his hand against England to send them packing is just one example of teams being ‘screwed’ out of football matches.

It was an event that didn't gain a lot of sympathy from this island though. The whole place sold out of Argentina shirts that summer.

You reap what you sow.

PS: Trappatoni and co. should have seen something like this coming a mile off if he had of tuned into the Olympic's last year!

Friday, 13 November 2009


Sometimes football clubs are associated with the biggest names in world music.  The link between the two is more often than not down to the area the artists were brought up in.  Manchester City have Oasis.  Liverpool FC have Gerry & the Pacemakers.  Everton have (say a few) The Beatles.  Glentoran have Van Morrison.  And then Linfield have David Jeffery.   

Manchester United have long been associated with local indie-band The Stone Roses.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Stone Roses’ groundbreaking debut album, the cover band have announced they will perform the band’s hits at Midnight at The Academy this Friday 11th December.

“The Stone Roses” themselves were famously declared the “Greatest British Album of all time” by NME.

The Stone Roses Experience are widely regarded as the most accurate tribute to The Stone Roses. Sell out shows all over the UK and Ireland have shown the popularity of the Stone Roses music is still as fresh today as it was back in the late 80's. The band focus on bringing the authentic live sound of the Roses to audiences who never had the pleasure of seeing the original band, using the original instruments as closely as possible and tweaking that desired classic Roses tone.

For the complete Stone Roses Experience, this IS the one.

The Stone Roses Experience... coming to The Academy, Middle Abbey Street next month.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Forget In-fluenza, think more In-form-Benzema.

World Cup fever is the latest infectious disease to hit Dublin. So under strict orders from the doctor (Dr Paisley) I have been advised to return North to Belfast this weekend where the chances of catching it are virtually impossible, unless of course Slovakia and Slovenia are nuked (see group 3).

However, Swine 'Les Bleus' is what followers of the Republic of Ireland should be extremely wary of come Saturday night. It might have been all smiles holding Italy to a 2-2 draw at Croker last month, but do that in the upcoming play-off against France and they can expect to join their Northern neighbours on the "it's good but it's not the one" scrapheap.

There is already a bit of a buzz going on in Dublin at the minute (and I don't just mean the nice fellas down on Aston Quay with the blue bags). Everyone is talking association football, which certainly makes a change in these parts. It's all about beating the French.

Not for me though...

I'm looking forward to my return to the 'wee six' this weekend where I'll be following in Jeff Stelling's footsteps with my very own version of 'Soccer Saturday'. On my return to God's Country I shall take in Northern Ireland's very own Croke Park... Seaview. Followed shortly after by a trip to the South (steady..) Belfast version of the Theatre of Dreams...Windsor Park. Ok so it's no Old Trafford, but it puts Dalymount Park to shame!

Anyway, my starter from the day's tasty menu will be at 2pm for Crusaders (2nd) vs Glentoran (3rd) in the Carling Irish Premiership. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish our manager Alan McDonald well in his recovery from illness. I've stated before I didn't think he was the man to take the Glens forward this season, but I am left numb with guilt at the thought that some of my fellow supporters could sink to the depths of despair with sickening text messages sent to his mobile phone following our 6-0 defeat to Coleraine last week. No manager should have to put up with that sort of crap. So I'll be at Seaview to give Alan the benefit of the doubt as manager of Glentoran Football Club. Sometimes maybe it takes a thumping at home to wake the team up. In saying that, I believe the game will be a dour 1-1 draw.

Next up is the main course where Northern Ireland entertain Serbia. Judging by the tickets still available at Windsor on Saturday, I don't think it has caught the imagination of some NI fans. Then again, you have to question the term 'fan' in this case. For me, I don't care whether we are playing Brazil at the Maracana or Outer Mongolia on an ice-rink, I am hooked on all our international games. 5pm on Saturday will be no different. The bonus is we're at home. You can't beat the walk down Tate's Avenue whilst necking a cheeky bottle of the monk's finest chanting "We'll Support You Evermore!" and managing to look like someone that's just broken out of Purdysburn for the day.

For the match itself I can't see past a Serbia victory. My heart says we could slay another dragon of European football if Healy finds his scoring boots and the two Celts impress. But the head says 3-0 to the Serbs.

Finally, for dessert (if I can stomach any more) it's off to the nearest pub to catch the start of the Republic vs France game. PaddyPower are offering odds of 8/1 for a 2-1 win to France which looks tempting. Although the bet of the day comes from this very website.  I'm offering odds of 32/1 that I gain entry to 'The Bot' in my Northern Ireland attire.

On second thoughts, I think I might just hop on that 19:16 train back to Holywood...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


And there was me thinking MNS was the highlight of Monday night's on the box!

But no, step forward the crazy, camp, heckler in the audience on RTE's current affairs programme 'Frontline' last night. The man who was seen 'earning' his three minutes of fame looked like a cross between Keith Gillespie on a diet of pastie baps, and Brian Kennedy... balls and all. 

The show itself is fronted by former 'Late Late Show' presenter Pat Kenny; a man who no matter how much of a gent he may be, always tends to attract his fair share of arseholes in the studio.  His latest heckler focused predominantly on his 11 hour-week, £600,000 salary for Radio Telefis Eireann.

I salute Pat Kenny for taking it on the chin.  It's a small price to pay when you take into consideration that the mad man in the audience had a point.  Eamon Dunphy take note.

It all made for hilarious late-night television - making the latest series of 'The Panel' unofficially a flop.

Forget Louis Walsh, get this mouthpiece on the X-Factor panel.  Oh the tears....

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Old McDonald had a team... save the eeyi-oo's, his team have been shite all season. The 6 (six) - nil defeat at the Oval at the hands of lowly Coleraine has to be the final straw.  Alan McDonald simply has not one clue. I do no not wish to elaborate as the list could be endless. Thanks Alan but it's time to go.