It was an international footy week, and a double header to boot, so naturally Mark Robson and Gerry Arconada-Armstrong were called upon to guide us through Northern Ireland’s games with Serbia and Slovenia on Sky.
Never easy these trips, games played in a decrepit ground with basic facilities in an area where English is barely spoken, but on the up side they did have a nice time in Serbia before arriving at Windsor Park.
Despite the best efforts of Uefa, our intrepid duo were allowed to travel to Belgrade for the behind-closed-doors clash, and Gerry was the ideal choice as he used to play for Bangor and thus is well accustomed to playing in a deserted |stadium.
Mind you, there wasn’t an eight-lane athletics track at Clandeboye Park but it allowed Robbo to mention something that surely has never been said before during a game.
“I’ve never been so far away from a football pitch in my life, you need the Hubble telescope to see the players,” he said and I suppose he was on the Sky at night.
From amateur astronomy we moved on to music with Robbo revealing that Dejan Stankovic is known as ‘The Boss’. Must have been why he was born to run the midfield. My humble (or Hubble) apologies for that.
But those were mere starters-for-ten before his dabble into European history and perhaps the best piece of commentary ever. Remarking on Darko Pancev’s hat-trick against Northern Ireland in 1991, Robbo added: “It was just before the Serbo-Croat Civil War, people of the same nationality fighting each other, tanks on the street — it was just like home.”
Wonderful stuff, just a pity that he wasn’t singing when ‘Sherman gets the ball’ but in reality that result flushed our hopes down the Panzer.