Archive for April, 2012

Bono’s daughter has just made her big screen debut, Will Smith’s daughter has released her first album and Chris Eubank’s son has embarked on his own boxing career. It seems famous off-spring are all the rage at present. But any potential goodwill towards these young tyros should be tempered as we recall the warnings from history provided by other children of celebrities. With any luck these three will steer clear of the pitfalls of fame, lest they become horrid, despicable human beings. Or worse still, like this lot….. (more…)

Fabio Capello’s premature departure from his post has been met with the usual media hyperventilation that accompanies the exit of an England manager – an over-excited mix of conspiracy theories about the nature of the exit and the inevitable cranking up of the who’s-next-in-line-for-the-job speculation machine. It’s understandable that the position of national team manager in a football-mad country should be the subject of such hypnotic-like focus from the forth estate. But is this coverage truly deserved? Is this obsession with the national team’s managerial position really warranted? Is the barrier to international success really down to the identity of the man in the hot seat?

It seems to me the position as head England coach is nothing more than conductor for the public bile that comes after the next inevitable failure. And when it comes to the England football team, failure is inevitable – and there isn’t a manager in the world who can change that. (more…)

Child welfare agencies have slammed a leaked government proposal to provide cosmetic implants for new born babies, describing it as a ‘disgrace’ and a ‘violation of human rights’. Under the proposal parents will be able to have any newborn babies fitted with lifelong-lasting tinted contact lenses. The Government plan to introduce the initiative from next January in a bid to counter the growing concerns over so-called ‘fake tan’ products – the idea being that the tinted lenses will eradicate the desire among young people to use harmful tanning products as the lenses would make everyone appear to have a ‘tanned’ complexion.

Dr Jurgen Schwanzlieber, who came up with the initiative says the procedure would ‘significantly reduce’ the number of cases of teenage girls and rugby players being treated for dermatological illnesses, caused by the toxins of ‘fake tan’ coming into contact with the skin. In some cases, these toxins have been found to have contained cancerous properties. “We realise the idea of performing cosmetic surgery on a newborn child will be seen as controversial at first, but, communicated properly, we believe the proposal will be welcomed by parents as they realise that the long-term benefits to their child’s health will be worth it”, Dr Schwanzlieber said. (more…)

Anyone tuning in late to Kenny Dalglish’s post-match interview at Blackburn last week could be forgiven for assuming the Liverpool manager had just been on the receiving end of a grievous personal insult, such was his terse, curt and downright rude behaviour towards Sky’s Andy Burton. For those of us who have been observing the Liverpool manager’s media dealings over the past quarter of a century, however, Dalglish’s behaviour was nothing if unsurprising.

Burton’s questions were entirely reasonable, both in the context of the extraordinary game that had just played out, as well as in his non-confrontational delivery. That Dalglish declined to give his opinion on a sending off that he would subsequently appeal is entirely understandable. What was less understandable was that he should feel the need to walk out on the interviewer for daring to ask his opinion in the first place. (more…)

Not ones to lecture but....

Not ones to lecture but….

The activists Bob Geldoff and Bono have announced their intentions to donate their respective fortunes to various charities. In a joint statement, Live Aid co-founder Geldoff and the U2 singer, Bono (real name Paul Hewson), said they felt the time was right to ‘set an example’.
The news has been warmly welcomed by charity figureheads such as Concern CEO, Tom Arnold, who described the gesture as ‘extraordinarily generous’ and hailed the pair for what he called their ‘immeasurable’ contribution to charity. U2 frontman Bono is believed to be worth in excess of one billion dollars, a sum accumulated through the groups massive commercial success over the past thirty years as well as through shrewd business investments (it was reported recently that the Irish rock star made a $300 million profit after selling his 5% stake in social media behemoth Facebook). (more…)

The news that football’s top graduates of the Jeremy Irons School of Lady-Relations, Messrs Gray and Keys, have being banished from our screens for the second time in a year should illicit a much different response to the righteous indignation that greeted lineswoman-gate in January of last year. For those of us not quick enough to take advantage of the fleeting chance to view it (which, apparently, is the entire population of planet Earth, save 517 hardy souls), seemingly Sky Sports’ erstwhile finest decided there was a shortage of tits on the internet and so broadcast themselves chewing the football fat in a series of bizarre settings before posting the outcome on Youtube. According to reports the duo’s ueber-gonzo offering floundered on such rocks as being unable to compete with the noise of passing traffic and the inability of the ‘cameraman’ to hold his camera phone in a non-wobbly manner. (more…)

“You’re supposed to be at home” taunted the travelling Green Army during Ireland’s 2011 European Championship qualifier away to Andorra. How the Andorran support might have responded we’ll never know as he was getting a burger at the time. Had it been an incident in isolation, one would have assumed the Irish fans’ taunts of their opponents’ miniscule support was an example of them engaging in ironic footie banter, the type perfected at such celebrated football cathedrals as Anfield or Old Trafford. However, the Irish faithful have form when it comes to terrace faux pas. Whether it’s booing obscure Georgian full-backs who happened to have once earned a wage with Glasgow Rangers, hated enemy of the Irish fan’s team, Glasgow Celtic (don’t let the fact that Celtic are located in the UK, pay taxes to the Westminister Government or compete in a UK championship confuse you, they’re definitely Irish!), or obediently paying extortionate ticket prices to the FAI (an organisation that makes Irish banks look prudent), the Irish fan is, indeed, a breed apart. (more…)

A mention of glory days round Anfield way and thoughts automatically turn to the days of Shankley and Liddel, Paisley and Hughes, Dalglish and Barnes. Despite having five titles in the bag by the time of Bill Shankley’s arrival in 1959 (not a record to be sniffed at considering a half-century later Chelsea have still only amassed four and Man City a mere two), there is no question the years ‘59 to ‘90 define Liverpool as a football club.

The list of honours and the means with which they were secured have been commemorated and analysed a million times previously, and a million times better than I could ever manage. If anyone wants to see when Liverpool were at their best, then look no further than these golden decades. (more…)

Poor old Michael Fish. When the sad day eventually arrives and the erstwhile BBC weatherman is whisked away to the great big spirit in the sky, passing through all those clouds, whose formations he spent so many long hours analysing, our Mick will be instantly recalled as ‘the weatherman who couldn’t even see a hurricane coming’. Fish’s failure, in 1987, to foresee what would be the worst storm to hit Britain for nearly 300 years will forever taint the thousands upon thousands of reasonably accurate predictions he made before and after his infamous faux pas.

A Meteorologist failing to spot the onset of a storm that would kill 18 and cause millions of pounds worth of damage is, to be generous, a little careless. Fish, however, can take solace from the events of 2007 when not one, but thousands of highly qualified so-called experts failed to spot a storm so destructive, it would affect the entire planet, leaving hundreds of millions of citizens in varying degrees of peril and wiping out entire countries as we knew them. I refer, of course, to the global financial crash. (more…)

Great fanfare was made of the recent visit to these shores of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping. China has undoubtedly been the economic star of the twenty first century thus far, and Mr Jinping’s visit was no doubt arranged in the hope that he would sprinkle some much needed economic fairy dust over little ol’ Ireland, and in doing so resuscitate a comatose economy. However, with Ireland is in the throes of economic conflagration, what the country needs is not so much a sprinkling of fairy dust as a fleet of fire engines.

Whilst any efforts to enhance ties with a world superpower should always be encouraged, surely the lines of communication with Beijing should have been opened much earlier – in November 2010 to be specific. That was the month Ireland effectively waved goodbye to its future by accepting the punitive and ruinous terms of the Troika bailout. (more…)