Thursday, April 17, 2008

Foot In Mouth Outbreak

Having heaped praise here on MNS recently, I find myself deeply angered at the rubbish that Rowdy Roddy Collins spewed out during last Monday's program. Something I had suggested that MNS lacked was a good debate and Collins' comments certainly provided the perfect topic. The fact that not one other individual present in the studio challenged his words, reflects badly upon them.

Of course Roddy is no stranger to controversy, and there exists the possibility that he may have been deliberately trying to stir matters up. Upon reflection though, his argument did not differ hugely from Damo's - it was the manner in which it was presented that irked.

A brief mention of Gio's first Irish squad selection prompted a question as to why no home-based players could make a squad of 40. It seems a fair question when one considers that the dragnet trailed as deeply as the lower reaches of the Championship in England; although I don't follow English football and cannot reflect on the ability or lack thereof of those selected.

I think most fans of the domestic league will accept that our best players can play Championship football. The issue here doesn't revolve around why our league was not represented; rather, how it was represented by Mr. Collins.

El Rico was first to speak - 'There's too much bad defending. Too many goals missed up front from opportunities presented. To go to the next level we need to eradicate bad defences.' When asked how this could be achieved, he cited the superior concentration levels of those participating at the highest level.

I find little to argue with in that. Former Pats player Colm Foley splashed about a little, ultimately saying that there were one or two players up to scratch, but failing to name either.

Roddy flagged Colin Healy as the only reasonable candidate from LOI football. Arguable, but OK. He then pointed out that if players displayed the kind of qualities of which Damo had spoken, well then they wouldn't be playing LOI football for long. OK. 'Until we have better competition, high tempo games, we're not going to produce players who can play international football'. Again, OK. Damo had mentioned that our situation would improve in this regard when the top tier would be reduced to ten teams; in theory, improving the overall standard of teams in that division. That too is a fair point.

It may not be Roddy's appointed crusade to champion all things League of Ireland, and we certainly need dissenting voices. But the plasterer's rant may well have been delivered from any barstool occupied by a Super Sunday arse, anywhere in Ireland. We all know and acknowledge that things around our league need to improve. Stadia, organisation, administration, playing surfaces. Irish football has begun a journey; having started from a lowly position, we are improving.

'We get the players that didn't make it in England, or the ones that didn't get a chance to go away - that's what we're feeding off.' What a fine tag line for an ad to attract fans to eL football - the divine words of Rowdy Roddy collins. A man who moments earlier had described Glenn Crowe as '..fantastic. Give him 40 strikes, he'll hit the target 39 times.' He did not neglect to mention that it was he who 'took him back from England.'

He did neglect to mention that he has been hawking his moneymen around the League of Ireland in order to take over the club most likely. How has he convinced anyone that such an investment is worthy considering his lowly opinion of our domestic game? Maybe his thoughtless comments have put an end to any such possibilities on this island.

By all means criticise, in a constructive manner. We are not precious about our league - any supporter of Irish football knows its limitations better than our stay-away critics. Damo spoke of the next step; here was a positive spin on our current level. Implied therein is an acknowledgement of the progress made thus far. In the words of the Feel & Fall party - A lot done, lots more to do - or something like that.

A link to the MNS programme here. Roddy's comments are contained in the Goal of the Month clip from the MNS 14th April show.

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