All in the Game: No sunburn for Jack Byrne
Christmas jumpers the Real deal; Zlatan hammered and Steve Bruce’s cabbage battle
Jack Byrne on his holidays in Dubai after a stellar season for Shamrock Rovers.
Having won the cup with Shamrock Rovers, being named player of the year and having made his senior international debut, the only thing Jack Byrne needs to complete his 2019 is a tan. So, he set off for Dubai with some pals in the hope of getting one. How’s he doing? Well after he posted a topless photo of himself that showed he was still a touch on the pasty side (that’s him on the right), The Sun spotted a response from a certain Glenn Whelan in the comments. Yes, that Glenn Whelan.
What did he say? “What factor are you using? Sudocrem?”
Quote of the week
“The best way to get a Premier League job if you are British is to change your name to a foreign name. I have always said if I was Allardicio I could have managed Manchester United.” – Sam Allardyce, still peeved at being overlooked by the Old Trafford powers-that-be who opted for the likes of Alex Fergusinho and David Moysi instead.
By the numbers
69,000: That’s how many Euros the Football Association of Ireland spent on John Delaney’s 50th birthday party, according to the Sunday Times. Delaney repaid about €50,000 soon afterwards. Who knew candles and balloons were so expensive?
Christmas jumper is the Real deal
One of the very best things about this time of year has always been the ‘Christmas Gift Ideas’ feature on Who Ate All The Pies, where else would you have learnt that you could buy your loved ones a Huddersfield Town measuring tape, Benfica sardines, Bayern Munich barbecue spice marinade, Fulham grass seed or a Hibernian car mat? So, when the man behind the blog, Chris Wright, stopped updating it during the summer we feared the worst. But, hallelujah, he’s back, this time appearing on ESPN’s site with a similar enough Black Friday gift guide.
Excellent it is too, not least the Manchester United Remington Curling Wand (“this is the perfect choice for style-conscious United fans who demand high quality and expert precision in their personal grooming”), the Paris Saint-Germain fire extinguisher and the Benfica dog-poo-bag dispenser.
But no football-related ‘Gift Ideas’ feature would be complete without a particularly snazzy seasonal jumper, the honour this time around going to Real Madrid. The price is a mere €35.20 – and no, they don’t pay you that to wear it.
Word of mouth I
“This guy plays for himself, and only for himself. Put yourself in the place of the boys who live for months with the whims of this guy who shits on the club and their supporters. He has no respect.” – Apart from that, Emmanuel Petit has the utmost respect for Neymar.
“Why the **** are you shooting from over there?” – Maurizio Sarri on his inner thoughts when Paulo Dybala lined up that free-kick for Juventus against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Then? You know yourself … goooooooooooooal!
“It’s about getting back to the Jesse that everyone knows and the Jesse Lingard that I know.” – Jesse Lingard talking about Jesse Lingard, having contracted third-person-itis.
Tuesday: “Watford have no intention of sacking Quique Sanchez Flores at this stage of the season, Sky Sports News understands.”
Sunday: “With regret, Watford Football Club confirms the departure of Head Coach Quique Sanchez Flores.” – The moral of the story: If Sky Sports News give you a vote of confidence, start clearing out your desk.
Zlatan hammered over club purchase
The award for the most severe misreading last week of the mood of fans goes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he announced that he had bought a 25 per cent stake in Swedish club Hammarby. How would that go down with supporters of Malmo, where he started his career? Well, despite there being very little love lost between the two clubs, he was confident the Malmo faithful would take it well. “I have a good relationship with the club and always have,” he said. “This has nothing to do with me as a football player. I think those in Malmo will be happy for me.”
How happy were they? Well, apart from the statue of him in Malmo that was recently erected being vandalised and having a toilet seat draped around it, ‘Judas’ being daubed on his home in Stockholm and fermented herring being thrown at the front door, very well.
“Zlatan has burned his bridges with Malmo with a nuclear bomb. He is radioactive here right now. The fans are taking this very personally,” Kaveh Hosseinpour, vice president of the official Malmo FF supporters club, told Goal. “He has been flirting with us for years by suggesting that he would come back and play for Malmo. This is like your high school crush that you have always dreamed of getting back together with only to find out that she cheated on you and has kids with someone else. This is betrayal.”
How will Zlatan now be remembered by Malmo supporters? “As the player that was sold for £7 million and not much else.”
Less than “happy”, then.
Word of mouth II
“I think as soon as Fred and Pereira realise that it’s not always going to be easy-oozy in a Premier League game away from home the better….. if they ever get the chance to play again together.” – Reflecting on that performance against Sheffield United, Paul Scholes’ feelings about Fred and Pereira are less than easy-oozy.
“We brought on a frozen goalkeeper. Imagine you go on there with shorts and a really thin shirt and some gloves which are not made for keeping you warm?” – Jurgen Klopp blaming the chill and skimpy attire for goalkeeper Adrian’s woes when he came on against Brighton on Saturday.
“A lot of the time he just walks and walks – and then…. it’s a goal.” – Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier on the challenge of trying to keep an eye on Lionel Messi.
Cabbage plot leaves unsavoury taste for Bruce
October 2018: “I find the whole thing hugely disrespectful. Unfortunately, it sums up the society we are in at the moment. There’s no respect for anyone. I’m surprised he knew what a cabbage was.”
Steve Bruce, then Aston Villa manager, after a peeved fan chucked a cabbage at him, a vegetable Brucie appeared to believe was quite exotic.
November 2019: “I thought it was a ball to begin with, it was a big old thing. How he got it into the stadium I don’t know. My reaction was, ‘What the **** is that? It didn’t miss me by much. The fans can throw some things, but a cabbage? It was one of the most unsavoury times of my career.”
Steve Bruce, now Newcastle manager, ahead of Monday’s trip to Aston Villa. Something tells us Brucie will never get over that cabbage.