Angry fans

The Examiner’s football correspondent Liam Mackey likes a good argument

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 Manchester City’s woes, like Joey Barton’s backside, get a full airing; we debate Mourinho’s cunning plan to make his team more entertaining by giving opponents a head start; the RTÉ triumvirate are in trouble again; there’s praise for Demon Berba; and a wry look at New Wembley. Letter of the week goes to Nick McGlinchey from Clare for services to the noble art of the pun. Let’s have a land address Nick and the Special One is all yours.

SURELY the appropriate song for Joey Barton is “you’re not fit to wear the shorts?”

Nick McGlinchey, Clare, by email

STUART Pearce’s decision to part-time his job with an international under-21 side was an accident waiting to happen. The real reason City are so poor is that Pearce has assembled possibly the worst set of strikers in the Premiership.

Iain McAllister, Cavan, by email

OUR SHOUT: And I can’t imagine it helped dressing room morale when Richard Dunne seemed to lay most of the blame at the feet of the foreign legion. Still, City fans will doubtless be lifted to know that Nick McGlinchey wins our Letter of the Week prize for services to pun-ditry.

GILES, Brady and Dunphy, while entertaining on RTE, need to stop moaning about the same things on Champions League week after week, always harping on about Manchester United’s Ronaldo or blaming poor performances like Barcelona’s last Tuesday on things going on in the background.

Instead, why don’t they celebrate good honest Irish pros like Steve Finnan instead of getting jealous about talented footballers like Ronaldinho and Gerrard.

Johnny Giles wasn’t the only good footballer of his era. Change the tune boys. By the way, didn’t anyone tell them Liverpool hit the bar three times in the first half?

Ed-Red, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Yep, the lads are getting just a tad predictable. Lucky for us they don’t do the Spanish football or else we might have had to put up with them moaning about “shambolic defending” in the weekend’s 3-3 classico at the Camp Nou.

SO Jose Mourinho called Mike Riley a “filho da puta”. Even assuming the Yorkshireman can understand Portuguese, as the most card-happy ref in the Premiership he will have heard worse in his time.

Levski’s president Todor Batkov called him a “British homosexual” last season and last month he broke the record for the most yellow cards in a Champions League game when he handed out 11 in the Lyon-Roma match. Is Mike Riley the new Graham Poll?

Cork Blue, by email

YOU’VE got to laugh when journalists get on their high horses about the use of “profane” language which shouldn’t be heard in front of the children.

Language which, of course, they have helpfully translated from Portuguese, no doubt in the interests of education. And journalists have never been known to swear have they? Paragons they are.

Liam O’Reilly, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: Is Mike Riley the new Graham Poll? Good question. Answers on a red card (or three) to this address, please. (one can be sent straight to Cork Blue, of course). As for the language issue, between Jose’s Portuguese and Arsene and his dictionary, is it any wonder we all love the Examiner’s straight-talking columnist Ian Holloway?

HAVING watched Chelsea perform yesterday without their centre-half and captain I would say his negotiating position over his contract has just gone up by several million.

Dennis Greene, London, by email

WELL done Roman Abramovich. His demand for “entertaining” football seems to have resulted in Mourinho hitting upon the novel idea of giving all his opponents a head start. Sheer genius.

Jack Courtenay, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: I must have missed the action replay of Roman kicking John Terry in the head.

THERE’S been lots of talk this season about Ronaldo for footballer of the year. But what about a shout for Dimitar Berbatov? Right now he looks like the best centre forward in Europe with the physical presence of Martin Chivers allied to the subtle touches of Alan Gilzean. Spurs were rampant when he was on the field and could have been beaten after his departure. This looks like €15m really well spent.

Brendan Doherty, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Crikey, Chivers and Gilzean, eh? I know that Spurs fans have a habit of living in the past but, at least, you stopped short of calling him the new Greavsie.

WHAT fantastic entertainment that was on Sunday — a really great FA Cup tie, and then a wonderful rugby match (with the Irish outside half for England being the cherry on the top). And guess what — no subscription TV so it could be enjoyed, and talked about, by everyone. Sky might be great for camera work and choice, but to really make sport centre stage the matches have to be free to air.

Patrick Clarke, Cavan, by email

OUR SHOUT: Yes, Patrick — and pigs will be free to take to the air too.

SO “New Wembley” is going to be ready for the Cup Final. But it hasn’t even got its safety certificate from Brent Council yet. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Bob the Builder, Limerick, by email

WHY don’t they just play extra time in cup quarter-finals like they do in the semis now? By and large most of the teams in the latter stages of the competitions don’t need the benefit of another payday and go out to win the match anyway as we’ve seen this weekend. And people like the thrills of sudden death. It would also prevent teams having to play three matches in six days which means that the squad which is the fittest, rather than the most skillful, will win in the end.

Mick Kennedy, Waterford, by email

OUR SHOUT: Mick, your letter is so full of common sense that it hasn’t a hope of being taken seriously. As for New Wembley . . . well, they should have chosen an Irish firm shouldn’t they?

FAREWELL, then to Henrik Larsson. Welcome back Smudger Smith. Can’t see how that is going to help United’s bid for a second treble but we live in hope.

Red Devil, Limerick, by email

WHICH bright spark scheduled a charity match for Manchester United this week against a special Europe XI.

Anthony Brennan, West Cork, by email

JUST what is George Boateng on about “that penalty would never have been given if it was against United at Old Trafford”. He raised both hands in the penalty area. Clear offence.

Liam Dunne, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: Can’t wait to see United’s line-up for the charity game. As for George Boateng, I coudn’t imagine a Moran or a McGrath worrying about protecting their faces in the penalty box.

IT COULDN’T be, could it, that we are going to see both Roy Keane AND Mick McCarthy back in the Premiership? And if not, then how about this for a scenario . . . Keano against McCarticus in the play-offs for a €50m pay-day next season.

Keano fan, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Think Sky might try to hype that one just a little bit?

BEEN a great season. Even the fights have been eye-catching. Following the China v QPR punch-up there was last week’s Valencia against Internazionale tear-up. More evidence that football hasn’t quite, yet, been sanitized out of existence.

Dick Kelly, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: You know what, Des, I kind of agree with you. There are so many embarrassing outbreaks of “handbags” in the grand old game that it was almost refreshing to see Inter and Valencia serve up something which might not have been entirely out of place on a rugger or gaelic field. However, since it is entirely politically incorrect to say such a thing, I must disassociate myself completely from your remarks, fine you €500,000 and ban you from writing to this column for a year.

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