Economipolitical kind of thing is all Greek to us


VIEW FROM THE COUCH:GERMANY V GREECE and John Giles was joined on the RTÉ panel by Constantin Gurdgiev, his cat, Brian Lucey, Peter Mathews, Morgan Kelly, David McWilliams, Paul Somerville, Eddie Hobbs, Paul Krugman, Mick Wallace, Pearse Doherty, Richard Boyd Barrett, a cardboard cut-out of Enda Kenny, Jedward and Twink, and Vincent Browne stepping in for Bill O’Herlihy for the occasion that was in it.

Constantin and Gilesie came to blows over whether or not the inflation-growth trade-off is non-linear, their dispute turning particularly ugly when the issue of Papastathopoulos’s defensive abilities were raised, a distressed Jedward screaming “OMG! Stop!” and Twink telling the pair to zip up their ticky-tackies.

Dreams? They’d freak you out sometimes.

Mind you, they’re not always wide of the mark. If you’d dropped in for the pre-match chat you might have thought football was more than a game, maybe even an economipolitical kind of thing.

Eamon Dunphy: “I think the Greek nation has been humiliated over the last two to three years, wrongly, and . . . ”

Austerity Bill: “Well, a lot of it has been their own fault, let’s be frank about it.”

Eamon: “Well, it isn’t actually.”

Liam Brady: “Stop! Break it up!” (placing a hand over the mouth of the panel’s Mario Balotelli).

Ah now, time to get away from the economipolitics. Over to ITV, then.

“The Big Bad Bossy Germans take on the Proud Turbulent Greeks,” said Adrian Chiles, telling us that Greece was a proud country “on the ropes”, but “the Germans are not known for being short of national pride themselves”.

“The Greeks will be politically motivated tonight, won’t they? They blame Germany for their woes,” he said to Gareth Southgate. “They might have to take a bit of responsibility for themselves in that respect,” he replied, having eerily transmogrified into Bill.

So, back to RTÉ in the hope of some footballcentric chat. Would Greece’s 9-0-1 tactics trouble the Germans, for example? Eamon?

“The people who caused this problem in Greece were not the ordinary people. It was the political class, same as in this country. The Greeks have been humiliated, this is the home of democracy, this is a great nation – and I think that will play tonight.”

Austerity Bill swivelled in his chair, which suggested he was dubious, and then almost lost his teeth when he told us Stephen Alkin was talking with Greek journalist “Giotis Panangiotas” over in Gdansk. “We can do it,” Giotis cried, but you couldn’t but note that the battery depicted on his t-shirt appeared to be running out of charge.

So, predictions?

Eamon: “I’m really rooting for Greece tonight, and I think a lot of people in the world will be rooting for them.”

Bill: “You’re talking politically, aren’t you?”

Eamon: “I’m talking as a human being – nothing personal Didi, I’ll take you out for a jar later on,” he said to the Hamman man, who had been examining the ceiling through most of the chat, having assumed he’d been hired to talk flat back fours and the like.

Bill: “He doesn’t qualify as a human being?”

Eamon: “No, he IS a human being – he’s a German human being.”

“Eh, thanks,” Didi blinked.

Match time. “Germany: Imperious; Greece: Just glad of their continued existence,” said Peter Drury back on ITV, “but no one owes anyone anything once they cross the white line.”

Ma? Please make it stop.

First half and Germany hammered Greece 1-0.

“No wonder Angela Merkel’s delighted with herself,” said Bill. “At the risk of a political polemic from you, Eamon . . . ”

“Or from you Bill.”

“They won’t be dancing on the streets of Athens, will they?”

“No,” Eamon conceded.

And on ITV, Chilesie’s take? “That’s what you call a 1-0 drubbing, it resembles nothing so much as a seventies third round FA Cup tie – there’s a David, there’s a Goliath, there’s a terrible pitch, the question is: is there a Greek Ronnie Radfordopolous out there?”

There was: Georgios “Samaraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas,” as Alkin dubbed him. Ronnie Whelan was no less contented: “This is what Greece do to ya!!!!!” “The debt is wiped out,” bellowed Drury, which was a factually incorrect assertion, to be honest, if understandable in the emotion of it all.

Game on! Ah, game off. Game over. Three German goals, Angela getting more delighted with herself every time. By then you wondered if a single Greek telly screen was still in tact.

And with that, Constantin turned to Gilesie and said: “A taxing time for the Greek, no?” Fair play to Jedward, they peeled Gilesie off Constantin pronto, before serious damage was inflicted. “Ireland is a hop, skip, and a jump away from being Greece,” Krugman interjected, before Twink zipped him up with the assistance of the cardboard Enda. A mad auld night, it has to be said.

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