He casts his eye over your comments and gives his own critical analysis of the goings on throughout the world of football. You may agree with him or then again you may not. This week the topics include Liverpoo, the best fans in Europe, the League of Ireland knockers, Irish rugby and the way it may help Irish soccer, Stephen Ireland and the way he may help Manchester City, Rooney and his ball throwing skills, Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa and their fall from grace, and finally, The Damned United - Liam’s choice of books and films and who he might take to the cinema.
The Letter of the Week goes to Seamus. Get in touch with your full name and postal address and our magnificent prize will be winging its way to you.
THEY’RE often described as the “best fans in Europe” when the karaoke begins before every home match. Liverpool fans will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster on April 15, 2009 . . . an accident which cost the lives of 96 innocent football fans. Over the past few weeks, we have heard the cry from the club, fans and players on how we should all pay our respects to football’s biggest tragedy and how the club should be allowed to change the date of the Champions League fixture so as to not play on the 15th.
I found it amazing that the "best fans in Europe" thought it fitting at Old Trafford to sing about Manchester United’s football disaster, the Munich 58 plane crash, whilst throwing around blown-up airplanes. Usually I can ignore it but since the Hillsborough anniversary is so close I was truly shocked to hear it .Those of us who support either side will realise that those songs are sung frequently by each side (Heysel more than Hillsborough to be fair to MUFC) but I just found it amazing that these self-pitying, self-obsessed supporters will want the whole footballing world to grieve with them next month whilst probably singing Munich songs at half time, as you can easily find in a quick search on the internet. Not that the media will take any notice.
Where will their famous Munich songs be on the 15th? They have been searching for justice for the 96 for a while but what about justice for the 39 in the Heysel disaster? These songs should, of course never be sung but they are, so we have to live with it. Of course Liverpool fans will act all innocent again. Cough, Michael Shields, Cough.
: It's reasonable to point out the hypocrisy but hardly grounds for questioning whether respect should be paid whenever and wherever it's due.
Liam, I recently watched 90 minutes of Bohs against Shamorck Rovers. Excellent pitch, full house, great atmosphere and above all, high quality. Are you not sick of all the League of Ireland knockers Liam? All of them Irish of course . . . I have no problem with Irish people following English football: the Premiership is the best in the world because of the finance there but doesn’t the knocking of our own league make you sick? The knockers compare the LOI with Torres, Rooney, Drogba etc, the best in the world. But, guys, for God’s sake watch the LOI objectively. It’s really good stuff and if the off-field problems can be sorted (surely they must go back to amatueur status?) they are going to go from strength to strength. Drogheda came within the width of a goalpost of knocking out Dynamo Kiev and hence qualifying for the Champions League proper group stages last year. Now wouldn’t that be an Irish sporting achievment? Rosenberg of Norway do it regularly, Cyprus and Romania had teams last year in the Champions League proper group stage so of course it can be done but they need the public’s help and support. So support your English teams where the best of the Irish ply their trade if you must but keep an eye on Bohs in the Champions League qualifying rounds.
Seamus, Newcastle West, Limerick and Bayern Munich fan.
Prize-winning letter of the week.
THE Premier League. And then there were two?
Tony Collins, West Cork, by email
Spotters badge to Tony.
TRAP and Tardelli should show their team a re-run of the Irish rugby team’s performance in Cardiff as an inspiration before their World Cup games with Bulgaria and Italy. Wouldn’t that be a good idea, Liam? Or maybe even get some of the players in to give an inspirational talk? Should suit O’Driscoll, he looks like a blonde version of Andy Reid anyway.
Anthony Murphy, Kildare, by email
: Except Drico tends to get the odd game in a green shirt, of course.
I HAD to laugh when I read that Stephen Ireland was telling Manchester City team-mates “not to be stupid” after they scraped through against AaB Aalborg last week. He’s a fine one to talk. More seriously we could see in that match why Hughes rescued Shay Given from Newcastle. He will be their best investment. Now he needs a couple of decent centre-halves in front of him. And I don’t mean Richard Dunne.
Luke Corcoran, Dublin, by email
Congratulations Luke, you've won this week's sensational star prize - an intimate candle-lit dinner for two with Biggus Diccus.
ROONEY has been an accident waiting to happen all season. He’s been on a short fuse, haranguing referees, swearing at them, flying into tackles. No surprise that he got sent off against Fulham. He hasn’t really grown up. I expect your Manchester United apologist Richard Kurt will still laugh it all off as the activities of a “spud-faced nipper” though, rather than the ill-discipline of a youthful multi-millionaire.
Cormac O’Sullivan, Donegal, by email
Gee, a footballer - a great footballer, actually - with a short fuse. Who throws the ball hard. Down with this sort of thing. (And have a red card yourself for over-reaction).
A MINUTE’S silence for Hillsborough at the Arsenal v Chelsea semi-final at Wembley? But nothing at the Manchester United v Everton semi-final the next day? Why?
Limerick Red, by email
See J Hickey's letter above for a possible clue.
ENGLAND calling up Ledley King for an international when he is one of the most crocked players in world football? Who are they going to select next? Lord Nelson? Douglas Bader?
Sean, Mallow, by email
I know, I can't sleep at night fretting about it too.
FOR the first half of the season Martin O’Neill’s star looked in the ascendancy. Now he’s falling to earth faster than the price of banking shares. Villa haven’t won one game in eight. Has he simply got a thin squad, or has he just been found out? One thing’s for sure. That decision to send out a bunch of reserves to compete in the UEFA Cup second leg against CSKA was one of the worst decisions of his life. They’ve been in freefall ever since. It was their best chance of a trophy this season. They are not going to qualify for the Champions League, and the way things are going they will be lucky to get into Europe at all. I kinda think that’s what we call justice.
Dennis Greene, London, by email
I READ that Aston Villa are prepared to let Gareth Barry leave this summer. If his performance at Anfield on Sunday is anything to go by then Liverpool should steer well clear.
Anthony Kennedy, Tipperary, by email
: Poor Villa. One of the most entertaining sides in the Premiership this season and now getting slated all around for failing to last the course. Probably serves 'em right for daring to threaten the Big Four.
WILL you be going to see 'The Damned United' Liam? Are you going to take Johnny Giles along for company? I notice that despite all the fuss, Norman Hunter said the film was a good representation of what the club was like during those 44 days of madness.
Nick Clegg, Dublin, by email
Brilliant book but haven't seen the movie yet. But after Liverpool and Fulham games, we now know that truth is even stranger than fiction for another damned-looking United.