1997: The ones that got away


Ideas which a more diligent journalist might have developed into a complete column . . . Will Tommy Carr and John Maughan be suing the army for premature hair loss? How is Anthony Rainbow's thatch?

What an extraordinary job Ruud Gullit has done at Chelsea - Vialli, Zola, Lebouef, Petrescu, Flo, etc, etc, etc, and they can pull off a scoreless draw at home against Leeds United. Begrudgers will say that Leeds had just nine men and were missing Harry Kewell, Superstar, and were playing away, but we say: "No." We say: "Well done Chelsea, well done Ruud."

Say what you like about the GAA, but at least they won't be shagging off to east Asia anytime soon.

Don't all the male contestants on Blind Date seem like professional footballers and vice versa?

How come £20 million given to the Nation's greatest sporting body from the National Lottery (which is designed precisely for such reasons) causes more outrage in some quarters than decades of political graft or the loss of public funds in the World Equestrian Games debacle - or the expenditure of public funds on the professional hoopla which is the Ryder Cup?

Should this country build a 50-metre swimming pool without express guarantees that the Irish soccer team will be allowed play in it?

When will pay-per-view TV start introducing quality-related refunds for bad boxing?

Do we really have the nightclub facilities to attract a serious professional soccer team to Dublin?

Jason McAteer has a Wash and Go commercial, while Paul McGrath still brings two bottles into the shower. Only one of them is immortal though.

Is there anything more irritating than Radio Eireann DJ's affecting to know a little thing or two about sport. Especially in the week before an All-Ireland. This column was nauseous every morning.

Why do all Marty Morrissey's GAA interviews take place beside lakes and rivers. How come his feet are never in shot. Are they webbed?

Where does the year go? It will soon be time for Eddie Jordan to tell us he has his best-ever engine/drivers/car/sideburns and is ready to clean up in Formula One.

Show me a sports editor who doesn't play golf and I'll show you a newspaper which doesn't go overboard about golf.

Why doesn't anybody get upset about the profits from horse breeding being tax free? We could build several national stadiums with the tax dough from this horsey set rumpy pumpy racket. This column modestly proposes a Tribunal to Investigate Certain Matters Pertaining to the Horsey Set Rumpy Pumpy Racket.

Say what you like about the GAA, they don't elect gnarled old Nazis to be their "Wise One." (While also getting a tax-free ride courtesy of The Great Pretender.)

Ever notice that nine out of 10 sportsmen who are asked to name their favourite movie in questionnaires nominate The Shawshank Redemption.

Say what you like about the GAA, at least they don't ask patrons to perform the Mexican wave at half-time in big games.

Ever wonder if Mike Tyson rates The Shawshank Redemption highly?

It's funny, but being stuck in a lift with Tiger Woods and Prince Naz is my idea of a bad dream.

Why has there never been a decent soccer movie?

Anybody with information leading to the recovery of Wayne McCullough's career should speak to the Gardai at Fitzgibbon Street.

Is the Irish rugby team's inability to think up decent nicknames for each other an indication of how limited their imagination is in other areas. Talk to us Woodsie? Poppy? Wally?

Now that Sports Stadium is no longer with us, could RTE broadcast a teletext page and BBC Radio Five on a Saturday afternoon? I guarantee good ratings.

Is They Think It's All Over a grotesquely-unfunny post-Bernard Manning farrago of bad-taste boyishness, or are it's subtle post-modernist ironies just going right over my sappy head?

Whatever happened to DISC and the Dublin Olympics wheeze? No more newsletters and not so much as a Christmas card this year. I've sent them a card suggesting that being the cheapest of skates themselves they should bid for the Winter Olympics.

Why do all Irish sports books have naff covers?

Was it premature hearing loss which prevented John Maughan hearing his team clattering down the rear exit stairs on the occasion of the Mayo press night last summer?

It is a benchmark of Western civilisation that large crowds of people no longer gather together while one megaphone mouth shouts out "give me an M." to which the large crowd will respond "M" and so on till megaphone mouth says: "Put them all together and what have you got?" (Readers may wish to insert their own Borrussia Moenchengladbach jokes here.)

Say what you like about the GAA, their policy of not holding up cards to indicate who is being substituted for who in a game makes it hard for the bastards in the press box. (Yeah, yeah, we're usually too busy trying to work out who got booked after the last fist-fest.)

Does Peter Schmeichel get sick of the Rudolph jokes at this time of year?

Brian is no name for a hero, but from 1997 alone: Brian Kerr; Brian Lohan; Bryan Hamilton (martyrdom category).

Yes, save your letters, it reflects an unreconstructed, immature and insecure version of nationalism to openly express the hope England don't win the World Cup next summer. Still, as a column who believes it is better for your neighbour's horse to die than to have two horses yourself, we shall be rooting for England to go all the way and get `nulle points' from the first round.

Do I really still get paid for this stuff?