Wednesday, July 25, 2007


It feels faintly voyeuristic to spend time interpreting the public statements of managers; but I am comforted by the knowledge that this is as central to the game as a substitution for a full-time boss.

And who is the manager most likely...? Yes, those of you who answered Damo will receive a 'Musings of Doctor Damo' CD. Never short of a word for the jaded scribes of Irish football, el Rico is now manipulating the innocent hacks in pursuit of league glory.

To illustrate the cunning and devious nature of his warblings we have to turn our eyes to the Premiershop. A past and current master of the genre is Alex Ferguson; a manager as ruthless and successful as they come. Not as media friendly as our Damo, he is capable of sending a shiver down the stiffest of spines with a single flash of a false grin in the direction of an unprepared lens.

The Scot's hairdryer treatment is the stuff of legend; the Cork boss also generates hot air with uncanny ease. In one of my past lives I was a Leeds United fan. This was during the Ridsdale years; famously the landing gear began to malfunction at Elland Road. The overpaid players belied their bloated contracts with a succession of apathetic performances; consequently they plummeted with the speed of an overstuffed wallet towards the wrong end of the table.

Meanwhile, the scum ( old habits and all that) were engaged in yet another title pursuit with, I think, Arsenal - although it is an insignificant detail. They were down to the wire and the once mighty Whites were due to face the scum and Arsenal on the run-in. Leeds gave United an almighty scare at Elland Road; fergie was not best pleased. In fact he was indignant; how dare such a lowly pile of sh1t attempt to derail his club's title challenge. He publicly accused the Leeds players of deceiving their manager i.e. if they could perform to such a level against his aristos, why weren't they expending the same effort on a weekly basis?

At face value it smacked of the Manager's Union looking out for each other - even suggesting that the Scot had a humane side; but there was a more sinister motive. With Arsenal due to face Leeds anon, he was demanding the same level of effort from the Yorkshire side when the Gunners faced them. And the smart ****** got it too - Leeds beat Arsenal at Highbury.

If my memory is not going to embarrass me, I seem to recall that Ferguson elicited a similar result from a wavering Newcastle United side on another occasion.

So, Damo.

The Cork City boss has taken to advising Drogheda United supremo Paul Doolin as to how the Louth club should be approaching their league assignments. Generous in the extreme from Damo? A man with a full-time job on his hands taking the time to help out a manager whose side are 8 points ahead of his own. Magnanimous in the extreme, unless of course there is a subtext in this comments regarding the scoreless draw between the sides last Sunday.....

“The reality is you saw that Drogheda will be very difficult to beat, but there are also games that they won’t win. Their complete blanket negativity suggests to me they’re more concerned with not losing than winning. The two previous games they scored goals in the last minute to win both. You can’t keep doing that. They’re hard to score and play against. They’re league leaders, but they should be showing more responsibility with their performances".

Drogheda are averaging 1.5 goals per game, bettered only by Pats at 1.58 and just ahead of Cork at 1.24.

Drogheda have won 11 from 18, Pats 11 from 19 and Cork 8 from 17.

As for 'responsibility for their performances', well Dr Damo is spot on here, if not with his other observations. Paul Doolin is the man charged with responsibility for the performances of Drogheda United football club, the second highest scoring side in the league with the highest points total. Facts like those suggest that the incumbent is a manager who takes his responsibility seriously.

Damian Richardson will have been well acquainted with the facts before his comments, but they were intended to insinuate themselves into the mindset of Drogheda supporters and staff alike in an effort to undermine their belief in the effectiveness of their currently successful tactics. A dodgy result or two and fans would be echoing el Rico's sentiments; fan unrest spreads to team, spreads to results - and Cork come gliding through in the Drogs ever slowing slipstream.

Surely the sign of a manager who is growing increasingly nervous about his club's unused silver polish supplies. Be responsible for Cork City's performances Damo, let Doolo worry about the Drogs.

Still, it's tasty stuff, and another sign of the pressure that comes with our creeping professionalism. Bring it on!

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