Mary Hannigan’s All in the Game: 2021 rewound (part two)

Irish drought in England; Evertonian ire; Cristiano Ronaldo’s 47-goal year and more

Least Effective Protest Banner

That would be the one left outside a home on the Wirral back in June that was designed to warn Rafael Benítez off from becoming Everton’s new manager. “We know where you live. Don’t sign,” it read. But? As Detective Inspector Darren Taylor revealed, “whoever placed the message left it outside the wrong house”.

Biggest Burn

That’d be when Carlo Ancelotti was asked to compare life as Real Madrid gaffer with his previous job at Everton. “It’s better to have a Ferrari than a Fiat 500.”

Mic Mishaps

We’ll go with West Ham old-boy Carlton Cole’s tribute to Manchester City on BBC Radio 5 Live. “You’ve got to give them some respect, otherwise it will be a Holocaust and you don’t want that.” You certainly don’t. The apology swiftly followed.

Quote of the year

"2021 is coming to an end and it was far from being an easy year, despite my 47 goals scored across all competitions." - Cristiano Ronaldo's New Year message to his fans, the fella almost conceding that not even his goals outweighed the impact of a global pandemic. Humble.


Number of the year

0 - That's how many former Republic of Ireland players are managers in England's top four divisions following Mick McCarthy's sacking by Cardiff in October.

Inch Perfect

Building a technical relationship with him is easy - I give him the ball, I run and he puts it where it belongs.” Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi on the passing abilities of his quite useful new team-mate, one Lionel Messi.

The Bitter End

How well did Danish paper Berlingske take their Euro 2020 semi-final defeat by England? Well …… “Let the English Party - they have nothing else. The corona fad is not an exception, but characteristic of a country that is so convinced of its exceptionalism that it even thinks itself exempt from a pandemic. Let them party... and instead rejoice that you have woken up in Denmark today.”

Come and Get Me

“If you ask me if one day I’d like to coach Arsenal, then yes. If one day I’d like to be Arsenal’s kit man, then yes. If one day I’d like to cut the grass at the Emirates Stadium, then yes. But it’s a massive utopia. Would I have liked to sing like Lionel Richie? Yes, but I don’t sing like Lionel Richie.” Would Thierry Henry quite like a job with Arsenal? All night long.

Home Thoughts From Abroad

“There are no words to describe how much I miss Naples. It’s so cold in London, they don’t even know what the sun is.” Chelsea’s Jorginho, on the verge of hypothermia.

Car Crash Co-Commentary

It was back in February that Tiger Woods had his horror car accident in California. How sympathetic was Ray Hudson on beIN Sports after Lionel Messi hit the post direct from a set-piece? “If Tiger Woods is watching maybe he could learn something about how to take a corner.”

Old Timer

“Would you call me young? I’m 21 now.” England veteran Jadon Sancho.

Video Nasty

It was back in August that Everton asked supporters to submit the names of loved ones who had died during the pandemic for inclusion in a moving tribute video they then tweeted. Alas, among those who featured were “Faye Knewse” and “Mike Oxsmall”, along with a photo of Anne Frank. “We wish they could all be here with us today. RIP Blues,” Everton wrote. On being told of the naughty submissions? “We are appalled.”

Mother of all Miaows

Didier Deschamps’ response when told that Jose Mourinho insisted France were so strong, anything less than winning Euro 2020 would be a failure. “I thought the same thing about his Tottenham team, but ……”.

Remember The Name

Jeff Stelling: “Carney Chibueze Chukwuemeka makes his Premier League debut today for Aston Villa.”

Paul Merson: “Has he got a nickname?”

Stelling: “Who?”

Merson: “The lad with all the letters.”

Number Crunching

“You don’t want to score a hat-trick and lose the game 3-2.” Andy Cole, losing count on beIN Sports.