Manuela's keen vision avoids trap of getting lost in translation

Mon, Feb 21, 2011, 00:00

TV VIEW:SOME PEOPLE have no shame, occasionally even bordering on the downright naughty. Take this text from Friday night: “Trap’s looking a bit shook,” it read.


“He’s on the Late Latewith his translator, talking about seeing Virgin Mary in Medjugorje.”


“Pity he didn’t see James McCarthy as often.”

It’s at times like this that the RTE Player is your only man. Yes, it was Giovanni Trapattoni’s translating sidekick Manuela Spinelli on the Late Late Show, but this time she was lending her linguistic services to Vicka Ivankovic, the Medjugorje visionary.

“Ur a disgrace,” you text back, “(but u have a point re McCarthy).”

Manuela, it has to be said, has one heck of a challenging working life, a single lapse of concentration on Friday and she could have interpreted one of the Blessed Virgin’s secrets as something along the lines of: “Darron Gibson must play team one futbol, must move to little club – at this moment. Otherwise: kaput.”

She stayed professionally focussed, though, and did her job, steering Vicka clear of the hot potatoes that are Gibson’s club career, McCarthy’s international allegiance and the footballing whereabouts of Stephen Ireland and Andy Reid. The imminent implosion of planet earth, as punishment for moral corruption and the like, is, after all, a significantly less contentious issue.

If what happened at Medjugorje was miraculous it was no more inexplicable than Leyton Orient’s draw with Arsenal yesterday. “As a famous politician once said: if you don’t believe in miracles you’re not a realist,” said our ESPN co-commentator David Pleat as the Orient faithful bellowed “We’re better than Barcelona” following Jonathan Tehoue’s late late equaliser for the minnows. (Orient).

(To be honest, this couch assumed it was the baldy singer in Hot Chocolate who came out with that line, but apparently it was David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.) “You sexy thing,” Ray Stubbs didn’t quite say as he welcomed Orient chairman Barry ‘Snooker Loopy’ Hearn to ESPN’s pitch-side breakfast bar after the game, but he came awful close.

“A mixture of heart attack and unbelievable joy,” said Barry of the draw, almost starting the chat with a kiss, so elated was he, the heart attack possibly a reference to his pre-match promise that he’d take the lads to Las Vegas if they held the might of Arsenal to a draw.

Barry most probably thought that was a safe enough offer, after all Arsenal had nullified Lionel Messi earlier in the week. Could they nullify Tehoue, who joined the club on a short-term contract from French third division side Union de la Jeunesse Armenienne de Paris? Well, no. Gas old game, all the same.

A grand occasion it was too, we were even treated to the sight of dancing girls in shorts eight times too small for them on the Brisbane Road pitch at half-time, their ability to jiggle, despite the encumbrance, possibly inspiring Orient to their second half heroics: in a kind of a ‘if-the-girls-can-jiggle-why-can’t-we?’ sort of way.

Indeed, we half expected Bill Werbeniuk, Doug Mountjoy and Terry Griffiths to emerge from the tunnel for a little bumping and grinding with the babes, but Chairman Barry has moved on, he’d never stand for that class of dated carry on.

Glenn Hoddle, frankly, needs to take a leaf out of Barry’s modernistic handbook. “When it’s not going for you, it’s not going for you,” he said of a Fernando Torres’ missed opportunity against Fulham on Monday night. “It’s come off his chest, his knee and his toe. It’s almost like the Chinese player Knee Shin Toe.” It’s the way Glenn tells ‘em.

Twenty-four hours later: “I can only apologise to those who took offence,” he said, by then sharing the same doghouse as Micheál Martin. “There’s no excuse. It’s an old football expression and I understand I can’t say things like that.” The times, it would seem, are a-changing. A bit.

Take that Crawley fan who was spotted mimicking the Munich air crash in the club’s video for their FA Cup song. Result? The fella was arrested under the “Public Order Act on suspicion of causing harassment, alarm or distress”, and banned for Saturday’s trip to Manchester. Probably just as well, mercifully he missed Crawley’s 1-0 pummelling by United.

But, back to miracles. David McIntyre? His performance in the Setanta commentary box for Saturday night’s National League contest between Dublin and Tipperary was positively supernatural. Not even the Blessed Virgin could have seen through that fog.

“We can inform you, that was indeed a point,” he said as an unidentifiable Dub apparently drilled a free through the undetectable Tipp posts. There was barely a cheer from the Croke Park crowd because they had absolutely no clue what had just happened.

David McIntyre is, then, our visionary of the week. And he didn’t even need Manuela to spread the word.