Monday, January 15, 2007

Punctured Shels

It was a day like many other days, plenty of stuff to do that I had no interest in doing. Suffering from Christmas-lag, wishing I'd made a resolution so that I could savour the moment when
I would purposefully break it. Then I got the news - Olly on Liveline!

At first I thought this meant he may be sitting in for Joe, but no, the reality was even better. Two of our national treasures would be in conversation; Oh the pure joy. The world of walkthechalk.com was put on hold whilst I immersed myself in the Wonderful World of Olly Byrne.

If it were a stage production there would be only two parts, for our hero refuses to let there be an end. Oliver Byrne opened his heart on the national airwaves and Joe Duffy prodded around inside. I was left feeling sympathy for a near broken man.

This man had a vision for Irish football, and he had the ability to convince others of its merit. He became a fearless speculator on behalf of his beloved Shelbourne, although his devotion to the club has cost it dearly. When I ponder this I can't help but think of megalomania; when I think of megalomania my memory accesses the Charlie Haughey file.

In the political arena, CJ is the Great Divider - loved and loathed in equal measure; our Olly falls into a similar category amongst the footballing fraternity. Many applaud his vision and his determination; the latter may well prove to be the prick that eventually bursts the balloon.

My attention was once drawn to a photograph which illustrated bureaucracy at its zenith. It was a monochrome reproduction of the inner tube of a bicycle used by a postman back in the day. The department of Post & Telegraphs decreed that these tubes should be repaired 45 times [or something very close to that number] before they could be removed from service.

Every departure from Shelbourne means another patch at the club; every managerial offer rebuffed, likewise. The time has come to replace the inner tube. The club has endured puncture after puncture, punctuated by hire purchase success. They have artificially upped the stakes for Irish football within the straw scaffold of guaranteed success.

Fortunately, the majority of eL clubs have not followed Olly's blueprint for world domination. Money talks in the professional game - it's a commodity in scarce supply by the banks of the Tolka, while the imprint of Mr. Byrne's rear end remains in the Chairman's seat.

Unexpectedly, His Ollyness has been speaking some common sense to the media; even talking of returning to a part time structure and rebuilding from there. Has the man been possessed by Eddie Hobbs? Don't believe it for a minute, it's a cunning ruse to lure foolish money towards the club. Once he has his hands on it, it'll be straight down to the shops for some new players and f*** the Revenue.

Hand it over Olly; you gave it your best shot. It's still within your gift to save the club; if you continue to ride on this flat you'll only make things worse. The tyre will break up; eventually the wheel will come off.

The beauty of sport is that success is never guaranteed, this is why we love to follow it. Chelski have invested incredible sums of money to dominate European football and real fans rejoice in their failure to do so. It all boils down to 11 v 11 for 90 minutes and anything can happen.

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