The Groundsman’s Shed

Five Irish Wonders of the World by groundsman

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

Now’s the time for cheap gags and references to Guinness, embarrassing t-shirts, comedy shamrock hats, and the lighter side of alcoholism- but the Irish have given so much to the world of football that it’d be a shame not to take a moment out to show appreciation for the following:

1. George Best – this should be obvious, but if not, I will direct you to this compilation of some of the man’s greatest moves on the pitch.  We all know his off-the-field lifestyle took him before his time, and he spawned Calum Best, for which I’ve finally forgiven him, but the man was a genius with the ball.  To me, his best trait was  his ability to look as if he was having fun whilst going about his paid work.  Cristiano Ronaldo will soon break Best’s record for goals scored as a winger, but the whingeing Portugese diva could learn a thing or two from this little guy who took big tackles full on, without tears or tantrums.

2. The Republic of Ireland’s 2002 World Cup squad– I remember this team because of their fans.  During their relatively short run at the Korea/Japan World Cup, the fans were consistently the loudest and most thrilling to watch, even as their lads struggled during their final matches. 

3. Tony Cascarino– Yes, Big Cass will always be a little bit Irish.  Faking your age and nationality for the chance to play in a World Cupdespite the threat of international sanctions or even possible jail time?  Honestly- what football fan/player wouldn’t do the same?  This man still continues to live and breathe football, and he played well for his adopted country.  Stereotypical Englishman Jack Charlton could also be considered an honorary Irish treasure for his contributions to that country, but I think winning the World Cup as an Englishman takes him out of the running.

4. “Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants“- A song about Quinn drunkenly dancing in a club whilst wearing ill fitting cut off jeans somehow made it to #59 in the UK singles chart.  With these lyrics, who can argue it’s merits?

Niall Quinn’s disco pants are the best,
They go up from his arse to his chest,
They’re better than
Adam and the Ants,
Niall Quinn’s disco pants!

Ah, football supporters.

5. Roy Keane – As hard men go, Keano appeared to have the most geniune rage coursing through his veins at all times.  Unlike simple/stupid thuggery a la Vinnie Jones, Keane used his intimidation tactics to actually help his teammates at Manchester United.  When he did explode, it was ugly- but if you could keep him just on the edge of a full on funk, he was golden.  We all know about the controversy surrounding his international career- and I still think he’s owed a Greek style wrestling match with Mick McCarthy.  Now the manager of Sunderland, Keano appears to have grown up, and mellowed ever so slightly- though he still found a way to grow a frightening beard and slag off the beloved spouses of his potential players. 

 I only rounded up five Irish Wonders of the World because the Irish pub down the street is getting a bit crowded at this hour.  I want to get my watery mug of overpriced green beer before the celebrations become even less about Ireland, and more about screaming in the streets and moshing to House of Pain’s “Jump Around”.

Need to point out any major Irish Wonders?  Comment below, and let me know.


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