Angry Fans

The Examiner’s football correspondent Liam Mackey likes a good argument when he hears it, and he’s got strong views of his own. Today, and every Tuesday, he will be acting as referee on your opinions on the Premiership. Let him know what you think and he’ll argue the toss with you.

We’ll be offering a free sports prize to the star contribution each week. This week there’s a moan about Ireland’s San Marino tactics; a tribute to Ferenc Puskas; more Stephen Hunt controversy; a Kevin Doyle lament; a shout for the Ashes (appeal not upheld), a look forward to Keane and McCarthy and Liam’s choice for the ballooned over player of the season.

Letter of the week goes to Siobhan Clarke for failing to fall for the mood music that Sunday’s match between United and Chelsea will decide the season. The book’s in the post.

WHY, against possibly the worst team (San Marino) ever to visit this country,

did the Rep of Ireland line up with four defenders? Surely, given these “minnows”

had been conceding an average of 10 goals per game, we should have had a maximum

of 3 defenders and have had at least a 3-4-3 formation? (We could even played

3-4-4, with “last man back” acting as keeper?)

T Lynch, Cavan,

(Cranky as ever!)by email

OUR SHOUT: Like the nostalgic

last man back tactic, not so sure about the use of “possibly” in the

first sentence.

WOULDN’T IT be a good idea to have two minutes silence

before this week’s Champions League games in memory of Ferenc Puskas? I’ve

only seen him play in faded black and white footage but you can still see he was

the business.

Even better idea . . . rename the Champions League cup the

Ferenc Puskas trophy, or make a special award for the team that plays the fairest

in the competition every year.

Paul McNally, Cavan, by email

OUR

SHOUT: That great goal against England, you know the one — did the Galloping

Major also invent the dragback? Answers on a postcard...

GREAT to see

Stephen Hunt getting some credit for his performance at the weekend after Chelski

and Mourinho did everything they did to blacken his name a few weeks ago.

Jonno Riley, Waterford by email

I READ an interview with John

Madjeski, the Reading chairman, where he said that only one person thought there

was anything sinister about the injury to Peter Cech. Perhaps he ought to have

a word with Jens Lehmann, Edwin van der Saar and Shay Given who all think different.

Patrick McMahon, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Here’s

the thing: opinions will differ but Hunt — and he’s the only one who

really knows — insists that it was an accident. In the absence of any convincing

evidence to the contrary, what’s so weird about just taking his word for

it?

NOW then Liam . . . I’m sure you’ll be thrilled that the

Ashes Series is starting on Thursday. Do you think Hoggie should open the bowling

with Grievous Bodily Harmison or should Freddie take the new ball? Will he be

able to reverse swing the Kookaburra as much as he did the Duke in the last series,

and do you think Gilchrist will be his rabbit again? What about the spinners —

should it be Monty or the King of Spain? And, to toss one up for you to hit for

six . . . what’s the best soccer equivalent of “sledging” that

you know of?

Cork Blue, by email

OUR SHOUT:

Ha, thought you’d catch me out with a trick question, did you? Even I know

that soccer is not a Winter Olympic sport. Have a red card — or a bongo or

a blooper or a plonker — or whatever the equivalent is probably called in

the strange geriatric past time of which you speak.

LET’S get real

about next Sunday’s match at Old Trafford. It is not the “season-defining”

game that all you journalists talk it up to be. It’s too early. It will be

the 14th game of a 38-game season. Sure, if United win, they’ll be six points

ahead . . . but they will still have to go to Stamford Bridge. If Chelsea win,

they will be level.

Are United going to go through the whole season undefeated?

I don’t think so. Are Chelsea? Definitely not because they have at least

one eye on Europe this season. I don’t want to be reading next Monday that

“the season’s over”.

Siobhan Clarke, Kilkenny, by email

OUR SHOUT: For services to common sense — a commodity

which is anything but common in sport — have our Letter of the Week prize,

Siobhan.

I REALLY hope Celtic stuff Manchester United tonight, if only

to wipe out the memory of the character assassination that Alex Ferguson carried

out on Gordon Strachan in his autobiography a few years ago. What’s that

saying about revenge being a dish that is best eaten cold?

Bhoys forever,

by email

OUR SHOUT: Let it go, Bhoy, let it go...

IS IT me, or is Cristiano Ronaldo the biggest show pony there’s been the

Premiership since David Ginola?

Mick Kennedy, Carrigaline, by email

OUR SHOUT: Ah, but don’t we just love when they get on

the ball? Don’t we?

WHY wasn’t Kuyt booked for his clear dive

against Middlesbrough? Of course, Liverpool don’t do that sort of thing!

Blue Nose, Limerick, by email

OUR SHOUT: These days,

they don’t do much of anything, to be fair.

YOU’VE got to laugh,

haven’t you, when you hear Roy Keane protesting that referees need to be

treated with more respect?

Red Devil, Limerick, by email

OUR

SHOUT: Well, I would laugh, but then maybe Roy reads this column so I’d

just like to say for the record that I agree with everything he says.

WOLVES v Sunderland. The 10th placed team in the Coca Cola Championship versus

the team in 15th place. Live on Sky 1 on Friday night. I wonder why that is?

Liam Collins, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Er, Stephen Elliott

back and in form?

KEVIN Doyle. Six goals in 13 Premiership games. The

same number as Thierry Henry (£10.5m). Only Drogba (£24m) and Rooney

(£28m) ahead of him. That £80,000 is beginning to look a completely

ridiculous selling short by Cork City now isn’t it.

Rebel Army, by

email

OUR SHOUT: It was looking pretty ridiculous from

word go, actually.

SO the Hammers are on the slab for £95m, which

includes £22m of debt (which they can recover by selling Anton Ferdinand,

Reo-Coker, Ashton and Etherington). Just what are a bunch of Icelanders going

to do with one of the most important development academies in the Premiership?

Icelandic ownership has hardly set Stoke City on fire has it? Could it be anything

to do with predicted property values in the East End of London?

Iron in

exile, by email

OUR SHOUT: Wot could be more welcome dahn

the East End than a nice bunch of geysers?

LIVERPOOL to be sold to the

George Gillett, the man who used to own the Harlem Globetrotters and the Miami

Dolphins? Can’t make up my mind whether to pinch myself or shoot myself.

Limerick Red, by email

OUR SHOUT: Hmm, such uncertainty.

Sounds like you’re suffering from what we doctors call ‘Rafa Syndrome’.

SHOULD Thierry Henry really be given the Ballon D’Or as Arsène

Wenger has been insisting? Loser in the Premiership. Loser in the Champions League.

Loser in the World Cup Final. Who would your choice be Liam?

Dennis Greene,

London, by email

OUR SHOUT: After Saturday against Sheffield

United, it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. (Oops, sorry, I thought you said ‘ballooned-over’).

I’M ALL for berating a mediocre England team but what the hell’s

going on when Louis van Gaal is leading the attack? He’s a man who achieved

the impossible by turning Barcelona into a byword for mediocrity with past-their-best

signings such as Zenden and Emanuel Petit. Van Gaal wouldn’t know a good

player if he bit him on the arse. Even if he was wearing an Oranje shirt.

Barça fan in Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: I know,

the Gaal of the man.

SO Gary Lineker says he hates “phone-in”

programmes. Is that because he’s so far up his own backside that he has forgotten

what fans sound like?

Anthony Brady, Naas, by email

OUR

SHOUT: Or maybe he just can't get a signal up there?

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