Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The most interesting definition of the word arbitrary, and the most suited to the cause of the eL follower, defines the word as 'uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical'. Those last two adjectives conjure unpleasant memories from this decaying season.

Again, the feelings of the faithful fan are callously discarded as a result of the regular inertia of the powers that be, and their aspirants, in Irish football. Of course, they are not all inefficient or self advancing; there are certainly plenty of genuine people involved throughout the administrative and committee areas of the game. Without these good folk, we would no longer have clubs to support in some cases.

Whilst Michael Collins was stood between the proverbial hard place and the rock, he has at least restored a pinch of sanity to an unstable season. It was important to the frustrated majority of fans that there would be no replay of 'that game'. And how demoralising it feels to be referring to it as such.

With respect to Jason McGuinness, his presence on the field was not the difference between Bohs winning or losing that game. Sure, he played his part in a pulsating game; but had he not been available I venture that the result would have been the same. But there I go, talking about football as if it were important!

Is it too much to hope for? Will anybody take the lessons of this season on board? The optimist within suggests that the new broom will dust the neglected corners of the eL; the pessimist points to the sullied hands which will hold it. It has been a great season with a thrilling title chase in both divisions; cup upsets, great goals and greater controversy. We have been inundated with live games; we have a weekly highlights show, however imperfect - we are striving on all fronts to nurture our tender professionalism.

Sligo's new managerial appointment has breathed fresh confidence and credibility into the game; hopefully Stephen Kenny's ascension will do likewise. We're headed in the right direction, but there are many icebergs along the route. Let's tighten up the rulebook, abandon these ludicrous journeys to the courts and spend the money on the game instead; not use it to further line the plush pockets of the legal profession.

Strange to note that the eL chose the Law Society buildings in Blackhall Place, as the venue in which to publicize the impending season in the Spring of 2006. Maybe they'd be willing to come on board with some sort of sponsorship deal. We could call it the Alleged League, we would have Alleged Champions. The Hearsay League Cup Final has a good ring to it.

The winners of each competition would be known in the following season's renewal as the Defendants. Referees could be called Prosecutors; their assistant's, Witnesses. Fans could address each other as 'learned friends'; football would be such a civilized game. I've completely lost the run of myself now, apologies.


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