Larry Ryan dons his Santa hat to dole out Christmas presents to the sporting world.


A little something for everyone this Christmas

Larry Ryan dons his Santa hat to dole out Christmas presents to the sporting world.

A little something for everyone this Christmas

Alan Pardew

A pair of dancing shoes, some sequinned slacks and a team of instructors to spend his payoff on, just to smooth out any small kinks in his routine ahead of the next season of Strictly.

Noel Connolly and Pat Holmes

The soundtrack to a popular animated movie about an ice queen who has some difficulty subduing her powers.

Karen Brady

A new branding agency. “We saw [the stadium move] as a real opportunity to change the brand values of the club,” Brady said, upon taking residency at London Stadium. Probably too late now, but maybe it’s a pity the Hammers chief didn’t just meet with the minimalist gurus who convinced La Liga to rebrand as LaLiga.


Contact details of the same Spanish marketing gurus, to unravel the work of whatever genius branded its World Cup qualifying groups the ‘European Qualifiers’ and condemned TV networks to two years of endless complaints and mockery.

Lance Armstrong

The TuneIn online radio app. So he can check what he’s getting himself into before he next answers the phone.

Wayne Rooney

Vouchers for The Wedding Hypnotist, a popular cabaret act available for after-dinner entertainment at nuptials. The entertainer may not be required until the early hours when Wazza needs somebody to click their fingers and make everybody forget. Also welcome to test powers on football managers and fans.

Conor McGregor

Argos vouchers and a torn-out page in the catalogue outlining its full range of duck feather duvet stock. A short-cut to true self-worth.

Roy Hodgson

Voucher for a tattoo parlour. In case he hasn’t yet taken the plunge and inked across his torso those three perfect words that followed Icelandic ignominy and will resonate forever as a personal mantra: “These things happen.”

The Dubs marooned in Roscommon

A Mercy mission. As creative citizens turn their hands to solving problems on the capital’s streets, what about the forgotten of Hyde Park, forced, at short notice, one cruel April afternoon, to find Carrick-on-Shannon on their wits. It is time, finally, to send help.

Chris Waddle

An old-school ghettoblaster to carry under his arm. No headphones.

Zinedine Zidane

Having split his strides several times in 12 months, a tailor brave enough to tell him he’s gone out to a 34.

Jurgen Klopp

A super injunction prohibiting anybody, from here until the end of May, photoshopping him into a kind of imagery featuring Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley poking their heads out of a cloud, assuring Kloppo he’s doing just great.

Craig Pawson, Jon Moss & co.

Media coaching, since these are worrying times, after suggestions the Premier League will soon force refs to provide explanations of key decisions within a half hour of the final whistle. No harm to remind the lads this might be the one area of modern life where Stephen Colbert’s ‘truthiness’ — “the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the facts will support” — won’t cut it.

GAA journalists

Rooney’s hypnotist, instructed to click and click his fingers until every scribe out there forgets where they filed the ‘silver bullet’ championship structure they were going to treat us to in 2017.

Arsene Wenger

A meeting with his Rita Hanson, whoever she may be, so we are finally released from his Groundhog Day.

Antonio Conte

A few new packs of Blu-Tack. Anybody wondering how Conte has effected change at the Bridge can forget the 3-5-2. Rather, he is an old-school believer in The Savage Hunger as we learned when he managed Italy, against Croatia, in the Euro qualifiers. Fixing a La Gazzetta Dello Sport feature with Croatia’s captain Darijo Srna on the dressing room door, he roared ‘Lads, this is what they’re saying about us.’ Stand by for a trophy-lifting Youse All Wrote Us Coming Up Here Today.

Malky MacKay

Installed on all mobile devices issued by the SFA; the high-spec new Bantz-Blocker app, available for a song as soon as I find a crack team of developers.

Sky Sports viewers

A digital service that provides football as live as Martin Tyler promises. Not three seconds behind Twitter. As for Sky Go, by the time it delivers, even a worldy has gone from ‘OMG, Goal of the season’ via 10,000 tweets to ‘Meh, the first one was a better team goal.”

Claudio Ranieri

A special commemorative gold gong in the shape of a brain. He has been handsomely rewarded and honoured for the fairytale and comedy follow-up. But not adequately. Because what hasn’t been officially acknowledged is Claudio’s triumph seems to have brought the curtain down, once and for all, on the mind games.

Rugby Country

What do you give the people who have everything? A trophy, I suppose, which seems to be the one glaring absentee from another ‘greatest ever’ year.

Keith Andrews

For the man who gave us and a sluggish João Moutinho getting “caught on the travelator on Gladiators”, it’s time to throw him the keys to the disused Ronglish locker and let him help himself.

John Stones

Lessons in the raised hand of shamed apology from the master of the craft, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Joe Brolly

Redacted, just to be on the safe side.

Sam Allardyce

If it doesn’t work out at Crystal Palace, a premium LinkedIn account, to showcase his experience and availability, going forward, as a keynote speaker.

League of Ireland clubs

If not a fresh €5,000 cheque from the FAI to redraft their strategic plans, then a season’s supply of Tippex to reflect the FAI’s own strategic shift.

Diarmuid Connolly

A contract with Buck’s Fizz’s old stylists, just to add a classier flourish to his regular mid-show strip.

Darren Clarke

Too little, too late. But a tank of the yellow and blue fish he forgot to instal at Hazeltine might make a soothing Christmas consolation.

Sir Dave Brailsford

A copy of the recent FAI rebranding report, where he may learn of a convenient new buzz phrase that may suit his purposes better than some of the terminology he has traditionally used over the years: “confidential transparency”.

Lee Chin

A diary.

Mayo supporters

There is probably only one manager out there who won’t buckle under the weight of this concerted media conspiracy. Come on over, Jose.

Ladies football

Perhaps Lidl would be so good as to sponsor a score detection system for the big days, even if it will only monitor small, ‘soft-touch’, ‘eazi-play’, pink footballs.

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