02 February 2008

'A Coach Not a Idiot'

The Magazine supplement of today's Irish Times features a very peculiar question in big red letters bang in the middle of page 48, dealing with the TV schedule for Wednesday: 'Can the boys in green manage their first ever win against the boys from Brazil?'

Seeing as this is in reference to Wednesday's soccer match between Brazil and the Republic of Ireland, I think the answer really has to be 'No'. Not because Ireland aren't good enough to win -- that's a separate issue -- but because if they did win, this would in fact be their second ever victory over the greatest footballing nation in the world.

Ireland beat Brazil back on 23 May 1987, with Liam Brady scoring the only goal of the match.

Speaking of Liam Brady, emblazoned on the front page of the Sports supplement is the declaration 'FAI to get Trapattoni and Brady'. It seems that more than a hundred days since Steve Staunton released the Irish managerial reins, the FAI are on the brink of acquiring a replacement. Not just any replacement either, rather the kind of manager that they claimed they had in mind back in October 2005, when they arrogantly rid themselves of Brian Kerr. After all, while Trapattoni may be getting on a bit, at 68 years old, he's got a ridiculous number of trophies under his belt, surely slowing him down rather more than his age: nine league triumphs in various countries, two Italian cups, three UEFA Cups, a European Cup-Winners' Cup, a European Cup, and more besides.

The idea this time, apparently, is that Trapattoni will be the coach, with Liam Brady, who worked with him at Juventus in the early eighties, as his assistant. Brady could well become a crucial hinge between coach and team, considering that Trapattoni apparently has hardly any English, though if his English is nearly as idiosyncratic as his German we could be in for an entertaining few years.

Of course, his first job shall be to master the art of the football cliche.

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