Goodnight Giovanni, thanks for the memories
Bill introduces a debate between Gilesie and Liam Brady over whether it’s Trap’s fault that we’re rubbish
Fair play to George Hamilton, he was the only one to make a genuine 110 per cent effort to lift our spirits and raise our hopes ahead of the night’s game, everyone else intent on bursting our bullish balloon before a ball was even booted.
Portugal, he reminded us, lost two home games in their qualifying group for the 1986 World Cup finals, and who did they lose to?
“Sweden and the then West Germany,” he declared.
“Perhaps Ronnie,” he said, “there’s a crumb, a straw at which to clutch.”
Ronnie – the Whelan fella, that is – was having none of it, failing, inexplicably, to see why we should be buoyed by what Portugal accomplished nigh on 20 years ago against, admittedly, only half of Germany, but all of Sweden. “I don’t know about that George, I think our chance has gone,” he said, prompting his colleague’s positivity to wilt even before the anthems had aired.
It was no better back in the studio. God be with the days they’d kick off with something like Colm CT Wilkinson’s ‘This is the Moment’, over slo-mos of Paul McGrath eating Roberto Baggio for breakfast, intros that would leave you believing you could fly all the way to the moon by just flapping your arms.
Instead, we opened with a doleful, melancholic kind of tune over slo-mos of moments we’d all like to forget, the only relief, really, that RTÉ hadn’t chosen Johnny’s Cash’s version of ‘Hurt’, which would have catapulted us over the edge.
“Jaysus Bill, that was very
sombre,” said John Giles’ face, his positivity levels not raised by word that Sweden had just hammered Kazakhstan 1-0. Gloom. And more than a little doom too.
Bill then broached the delicate subject of we-can’t-understand-a-flippin’-word-he-says-gate, as raised by Marc Wilson during the week, sharing with us a chat Tony
O’Donoghue had with Giovanni Trapattoni on the very issue.
In response to the query about the un-fathom-a-bility of his English, Trap responded partly in Italian, translator supreme Manuela Spinelli helping us out, but that kind of left Tony tempted to declare: ‘I rest my bloody case’.
“If the FAI decided they’d like you to continue would you stay on,” he asked. “With very, very enthusiasm,” said Trap, which left you going ‘aaaaw’, wanting the fella to stay almost forever.
Bill introduced a debate between Gilesie and Liam Brady over whether it’s Trap’s fault that we’re rubbish.
Liam argued that Trap should be respected, his “era has run its course”, but he did it his way with a group of players that are less than exceptional.