I never ran from King, scoffs unrepentant Dunphy

Eamon Dunphy has scoffed at the idea that he once had to flee from an angry Noel King but has backed up the Irish interim manager’s denial that he broke the TV pundit’s nose during their League of Ireland days in the late 70s.

“Did I run away from Noel King?” said Dunphy with a laugh yesterday.

“I don’t run away. It wouldn’t be hard to run away from Noel, he could barely run. It never happened. I think in his dreams.”

However, he did recall that King, then playing with Dundalk, had been sent off for a tackle on him when Dunphy was approaching the end of his career at Shamrock Rovers in 1978.

“He was sent off for kicking me, a bad tackle, but nothing was broken,” said Dunphy.

But the former Irish international turned TV analyst — who was heavily critical of King’s interim management of the senior team — denied he held a grudge against him since.

“You must be mad,” he said. “If there was grudge I wouldn’t have been praising him all last week. There was nothing personal in the criticism. When he got the job I praised him for seven days, then he produced a mad team and, like the other two panellists, I criticised the team selection, the formation and the tactics.

“It wasn’t just me, it was Liam [Brady] and John [Giles] and they’re not controversialists. We didn’t know what he was doing and neither did the players.

“He called myself, John and Liam ‘old’ and said that we didn’t understand the modern game. Liam’s the head of the Arsenal youth camp, which is the most successful in Britain.

“I think he thought he’d put out this team with this amazing, innovative tactical formation, and he made a balls of it, and we could have lost seven or eight nil. He did something quite original, unusual and, you know, if you do something like that and it doesn’t work, well what are you supposed to do? Close the television station down?

“Seven days good, one night critical, and he couldn’t take it. If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get out of the kitchen.”

Meanwhile, as the search for a successor to Giovanni Trapattoni appears to be narrowing down to a head to head between Mick McCarthy and Martin O’Neill, Ireland fall from 59 to 60, their lowest ever position, in the latest Fifa World Rankings.

* Eamon Dunphy was speaking at a TDs’ training session ahead of their ESB Charity Challenge match against a journalists selection.

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