All in the Game: ‘It’s a Bhoy’ - Old Firm couple surprise radio host in Scotland

Good Sam, Bad Sam? Spurs fans served up a slice of slagging; Word of Mouth quotes of the week

A Rangers fan by the name of Richard Shearer rang the football phone-in on the Clyde 1 radio station last Tuesday evening to share his thoughts on the state of the club, chatting for around 10 minutes about the team’s “rebuild” and how he was “just a wee bit concerned” about Rangers’ finances.

It’s not unreasonable, of course, for a supporter to fret about these matters but, as the Scottish Sun told us, when Richard phoned in, presenter Gordon Duncan noted that his location showed up as Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital.

“I hope you’re not unwell,” he said. “No, no,” Richard replied, “I’m with my wife. She’s in labour so we’ve got the radio on in the background listening to the show.”

Duncan didn’t know quite whether to weep or chuckle, but his concerns about the in-labour Gemma being somewhat neglected by her beloved at this testing time were allayed when she joined the chat herself. “Who wouldn’t want to give birth with Gordon on in the background,” she hollered down the phone.


It emerged that while Richard is a Rangers devotee, Gemma’s first love is Celtic, leaving Richard worried that she’d name their baby Ange in honour of the Bhoys’ gaffer Postecoglou.

After Rangers’ 3-0 win over Celtic on Saturday, he probably campaigned for ‘Cantwell Souttar Sakala Shearer’. In the end, though, they chose ‘Nathan’ for the boy who was born an hour and 45 minutes after the phone-in. Or “the Bhoy”, as the mighty Gemma might insist on calling him.

Good Sam, Bad Sam? Depends who you talk to

For a piece on their website last week, the BBC spoke to a number of people who had worked with Sam Allardyce through the years to get the inside track on what kind of man and manager he is.

Allardyce, of course, has long railed against the notion that he is an old-school-shouty-tyrannical-dinosaur, and he had support from Morten Gamst Pedersen on that front, the former Norwegian international having played for him at Blackburn Rovers. “He is a loving person, he cares about you,” he said. “He asks you about your life, your family, he is good with people. Humble, like a grandad.”

That suggested, then, that Allardyce has a sensitive side he’s rarely credited with, so you could imagine him, say, putting a comforting arm around the shoulder of a player left out of his team.

Which brings us to Damien Delaney who spoke on Joe’s House of Football podcast about his time with Allardyce at Crystal Palace. The players’ first meeting with him?

“He just walks in, over to the flip chart, flips it and says, ‘that’s the team for tomorrow – if you’re in it, well done. If you’re not, don’t ****ing bother coming to see me, I don’t think you’re good enough. If you do want to come and see me, there will be one ****ing winner. NOW **** off out and train’. And he just walked out. We all just went, ‘****ing hell!” That’s more like it.

Spurs fans served up a slice of slagging

Not that they had much of a chance any way, but on Saturday Spurs’ Champions League qualifying hopes were officially ended with that 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa. And the day only got worse for their fans with news that their beloved Mauricio Pochettino had agreed a deal to become Chelsea’s gaffer next season.

How sympathetic were Domino’s Pizza? Not very. “Sorry if your pizza is delayed this evening – this is due to flooding caused by the tears of Spurs fans,” they tweeted. “Think you’re going to lose Spurs fans as customers,” replied a Jack Dubois. “Both of them.” Oooh.

Number: 82

That’s the percentage of votes Erling Haaland received in the Football Writers’ Association’s player of the year vote, the highest ever. Leicester’s James Maddison received one vote. Seriously.

Word of Mouth

“Kebabs here are terrible. And the sausages. Oh. My. Days.” – Apart from that, Brighton’s German forward Deniz Undav is enjoying his time in England.

“I called United and told them that I’d got this striker, I asked for £4 million for him but they didn’t sign him.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjær recalling the time when he was manager of Molde that Manchester United showed no interest in signing a player he recommended. Yep, of course, Erling Haaland.

“It was just a fantastic dressingroom. Winners, who hated losing. They had a few fights, like you should do after bad games. You had to shake each other up. If you do that to the boys now, they will get their dad, or their mum, or their agents ... snowflakes. Not many of today’s lot would have survived in that dressingroom.” – Solskjær again, reckoning the youth of today wouldn’t have lasted a minute in a dressingroom containing Roy Keane and co.

“I didn’t play much at Chelsea. I could have left earlier and signed for Inter in the 2020 winter transfer market, instead God wanted that I choose Milan. I am very happy.” – Olivier Giroud chuffed that divine intervention led him to AC Milan (until, maybe, they lost 2-0 to Inter in last week’s Champions League semi-final).

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times