Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Billy on the Box: Robson's voice

Somewhere gathering dust in the attic is a recording of the 1989 Irish Cup Final between Ballymena United and Larne taped off Radio Ulster.

I mention this useless piece of information for two reasons.

1. To remind people that the Sky Blues once won something and 2. The commentator was Mark Robson. I think.

Since then he has gone on to bigger and better things as a rugby commentator for Sky but put his odd -shaped balls to one side to return to familiar ground on Wednesday night.

And it couldn’t have been any bigger as footballing giants, San Marino, former Miami Dolphins quarter-back I’m reliably informed, came to town.

I’ll be honest, my knowledge of San Marino comes to one fact - Giuseppe Garibaldi hailed from the wee principality.

That’s the Italian adventurer, not the biscuit.

My knowledge of Mark is similarly sketchy but I am relatively confident that he does not hail from San Marino.

With that in mind then you have to wonder why he screamed in a mad Italian accent like Allo Allo’s Captain Bertorelli every time one of their players got within 300 feet of the ball.

This could set a very worrying precedent as I am led to believe that Mark has been pencilled in for Ballymena’s live game with Newry in a few weeks time.

Will this mean that for half the game he will sound like the man from the Fairhill Centre and then like Rose Marie?

Sitting on his right hand, painful I know, was Gerry Arconada-Armstrong, whose nose must have been out of joint because we weren’t playing Andorra and he couldn’t put on his Spanish accent.

After a nervy opening David Healy finally got us up and running with a goal that took him level with Gerry on World Cup goals.

Gerry was delighted, although secretly you know he was thinking ‘huh, San Marino, you haven’t scored in Valencia, matey.’

“What a relief for the wee man and what a relief for the wee country,” Mark wailed in his best Sammy Mackie accent.

It’s good to have yer man Robson back, at least he knows something about us, and anyone who describes a dive as a ‘bit of a Tom Daley’ is okay with me.

Poor Nigel Worthington was so shocked we’d scored some goals that he lost all control afterwards with Sky’s ace reporter, Pete Colley, a man known to Norn Iron fans as the camp Julian Simmons, getting tongue tied and grappling for words.

Should have spoken in fluent Ballymena, hi.