Belfast Telegraph

Local footy leaves us all in the Pink

By Billy Weir

I make no apologies for being a fan of things that are regarded by some as being a bit naff and whose best days fester in the dim and distant past.

So what a joy it was this week to find that local football and the musical meanderings of Pink Floyd were thrust together with the subtle force of the Hadron Collider by Mark Sidebottom on Final Score.

"Depending on your point of view, Linfield are either in the process of rebuilding or crumbling," he said, and we were all on the edge of our seats wondering just where this was going.

"The home support badly needed another brick in the wall but for Blues fans it remains destination dark side of the moon," he added and it all became clear.

Unlike those ditties by the largely unpopular beat combo, the Big Two game ended scoreless, but there were goals aplenty from Friday night to keep us entertained.

"Onto last evening's games where a man called Twigg was pulling up trees at Solitude. Cliftonville led for nine-tenths of their encounter at home to Portadown but in the last six minutes the champions were hit for six," added Sidebottom, but trying to do the maths for that one was more complicated that working out particle acceleration.

There was no welcome to the machine though as the picture quality from that game was only surpassed in its awfulness by that at Coleraine, and it had nothing to do with a fleeting glance of Alan Simpson's voluminous trousers.

"The picture was just a little degraded there because of the way they were ingested, apologies for that," said Professor Sidebottom. You may as well have said 'the thingymabob was banjaxed' and we'd have understood as much.

"Next week the man with the magic feet from Madeira comes to town," was a momentary lapse in reason, but I think he meant Cristiano Ronaldo, if only we knew someone locally who knows everything about Spanish football.

Ah, Snr Armstrong.

He was in the less exotic climes of north Belfast as Sky's Monday Night Football offering featured Cliftonville and Coleraine and the pictures weren't ingested in anyway, shape or form.

A cracking game ensued, certainly much better than the previous Monday's offering, and Gerry made no mistake in picking out the man of the match.

"It has to be that man Shane Lowry, he's been absolutely fantastic," he said, the only small problem being that he's a golfer and not the Stephen Lowry whose name was emblazoned on the screen.

"He scored the opening goal, was heavily involved in the second and putted beautifully for the third," mostly added Gerry.

It's hard to argue that Reds' player Diarmuid O'Carroll could have been laid out any better had Shane levelled him with a three wood when David Ogilby tackled him in 'robust' fashion according to gantry guest David Jeffrey afterwards.

By this stage the striker's ankle was still comfortably numb as the DJ put his spin on the us and them nature of zealots and sceptics of the local game.

"Maybe some of our older viewers will remember Chopper Ron Harris," began David. (In fairness his given name and not Chopper, as Ron would have been a rubbish nickname, but I digress).

"Snapping away at our wee George Best, well that was up there with Chopper's best efforts."

Graham Little wondered if local footballers were just animals and should you run like hell if approached by a defender, but DJ was having none of it.

"It was certainly a little bit extreme," he accepted. "This is the Irish League and I tell you we absolutely love it. There's no poncing about, or laying down, or getting picked up left, right and centre, we go to win."

And at the end of it, we all have a cigar, complain about the money Linfield have, but really, don't you wish you were here for another great gig on the Sky?

Belfast Telegraph

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