Belfast Telegraph

Pam Sunday arrives a little early for George

By Billy Weir

You find before you a man who is bemused, confused and unable to erase an image that he never invited into his head in the first place.

Even now five days on after the event I still awake in a cold sweat babbling about George Hook running across Portstewart Strand wearing nothing but a one-piece red bathing suit chased by a woman called Pamela.

I’m not talking about Ballantine either although I will be wee bit later so stay tuned, but this Pamela was Ms Anderson who somehow made it into the curmudgeonly RTE pundit’s pre-match analysis of Ireland’s game with France.

“If we come here with our best game and if we make the best decisions,” he began before realising he was stepping into if your granny had Gilberts she’d be your granda territory and went off on a disturbing tangent.

“Hang on, if I was 40 years younger, 50 pounds lighter and had a full head of hair I’d stand a chance of Pamela Anderson saying hello to me but in my current state nobody is going to say hello to me,” he continued.

I’m sure Pamela Ballantine would say hello to you, she’s been trained as a continuity announcer but now it seems that she is the new face of UTV — and I use the following word very loosely indeed — ‘Sport’.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve admired Havelock House’s finest from an early age and if you want someone to sit on a sofa and make pleasant chat with Frank Mitchell or even tell us the weather when he’s off, then Pamela’s the girl for the gig.

Then again there’s so little sport on UTV these days it hardly matters and I hear rumours that there’s going to be even less next season with local football getting the chop so thank goodness for BBC Northern Ireland. I know, I can’t believe I said that either.

Yes they may make a complete horlicks off it at times but at least they’re still out and about covering a few things but both of them should hang their heads in shame compared to what RTE can offer.

As well as the rugger they showed an opening night game in the Airtricity League live, a highlights programme from the National Football League and on Monday followed that up with the return of the excellent MNS (that’s Monday Night Soccer to the uninitiated) and Against the Head (a superb oval ball version of MNS). Even Craig Doyle has a chat show.

And the gripe will be from both that we don’t have the money that RTE does, well the last I looked the Celtic Tiger wasn’t exactly growling down there.

It was in Paris though as at half-time the impossible looked possible and presenter Tom McGurk, looking like an extra from Fantasy Island in a natty cream jacket, encouraged us ‘to come out from behind the couch’ but I was scared to in case George was entertaining a blonde lady.

“I think if the electricity ever goes out I’ll watch this to keep me warm,” he purred but thankfully the leader of Dublin’s motley crew wasn’t talking about any Pamela video starring Tommy Lee.

It was Tommy Bowe who was the star and the wheels may have come off a little in the second-half but even George was full of hope in the spring Parisian sunshine

“They did bloody (with about 15 ‘Os’ in it) well and we should welcome them home (another 13 ‘Os’) and say well done lads!” he added.

We will and we did although the way UTV’s going it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d have been met at the airport by Julian Simmons, but it was all too much for Declan Kidney, who had obviously heard of George’s impending relationship with Pammy.

“Well, we’ve been in two close ones now,” Kidney said to the BBC’s Jill Douglas, “one went against us, today’s ends up a draw — you want me to say it’s bit like kissing your sister?”

I don’t know what’s worse, that or the image of George in that swimsuit.

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