Belfast Telegraph

It’s a funny old game, but not all of the time

Not for the first time in this World Cup, ITV almost had me in tears on Sunday evening but for once it had nothing to do with Adrian Chiles.

This time though I was in good company in the blubbing stakes as ‘Gazza's Tears — the night that changed football' had us all reaching for the Kleenex.

It's 20 years since that night in Turin and basically the conclusion was that a Geordie bloke having a sob had solved all the ills of English society in danger of self-combusting at the end of the Eighties.

I'm not sure the history books will see it that way but there were no matches for a few days so we'll gloss over the facts for now.

One thing you can't gloss over is that two decades have taken their toll. And I'm not just talking about Gazza here because compared to David Platt (right) and Mark Wright he's fared quite well.

Gary Lineker, despite his crisp dependency hasn't changed much, but Platty and Wrighty now do as much waddling as a certain mullet-sporting penalty-taker, while the Germans still look as if they could play 120 minutes and win the shoot-out.

It was great to see Des Lynam back on our screens, and one question instantly jumps into your head. What do you feed that little lip badger on, Des? No, not that one, why is someone so good at his job not being used by TV?

Other stars were on show with Elton also popping up. Not the funny wee baldy singer, the great Welsby, now earning a living covering the Southport and District limpet-racing championships in Granada, but back then alive and kicking in Italia.

And wonderful to hear the legend that is Brian Moore again, urging Lineker on in the shoot-out.

“Gary, the whole nation is watching you now,” he said, rather than trying to switch you off as is the case now, but fittingly the final word went to Gazza in tears again as some of the final words uttered by Sir Bobby Robson, vilified before the tournament and now rightly revered as a great of the game, were relayed to him.

There hasn't been as much crying since Platty dropped his fish supper.

And throughout, playing quietly in the background were a selection of Snow Patrol tracks. Good to see there's still one Lightbody about.

Belfast Telegraph

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