Everybody knows that what I can tell you about football is about as much as a a macro-biotic can tell you about running an abattoir, today’s post is compliments of our financial director Seamus Carrick ACCA. Some people ‘like’ football, others love it, to the degree that they would sacrifice one of their kidneys to see their team win games, Seamus is very much in the latter class, here are his thoughts on the Ireland game….
It has been on everyone’s lips since Wednesday night, and will be talked about for many’s a day to come, the now infamous hand of Henry which has denied us a place at next year’s world cup. Why you say is this on a mortgage brokers and financial services website blog you might ask?
Wednesday night was not just a football game, it was a potential turning point in our nation’s economy to get us out of the doldrums of doom and gloom and give us all a lift and something to talk about for the next seven months, it was something to give us hope, something for us to look forward to instead of talking about pay cuts, unemployment and strikes.
Some will point to the boom that started in this country in the mid 90’s and will look back at the exploits of Italia 90 and USA 94 as being a possible source of that. Even this week there was an article in the Guardain newspaper in the UK saying that by our friends across the sea qualifying was going to generate billions for their economy and give them all a sense of pride.
For someone who was part of the 15,000+ supporters in the stands in Saint-Denis on Wednesday night, I can not but feel a terrible sense of injustice at the whole situation, not only from the main talking incident but from the fact that FIFA changed the rules on having a seeded draw for the play-offs instead of the promised open draw. Ok, had there been an open draw we may still have drawn France, but wouldn’t it have been nice to get a shot at Bosnia?
Up until the 102nd minute of the game last Wednesday evening everything was going well for us, and for anyone who has been living under a rock since then, an incident occurred which can only be described as robbery, theft or cheating. With the ball going out of play from a free kick near the half way line for the French, the great and wonderful Thierry Henry controlled the ball with his hand to keep the ball in play, and knocked back for Gallas to head into an empty net.
The goal equalized Robbie Keane’s 31st minute strike on the night, which meant France now lead 2-1 on aggregate after their one nil victory at Croke Park on Saturday.
We all looked, as did the entire irish team, managers, substitutes, etc for the expected whistle from the Swedish referee for a free out, but amazingly it did not arrive. And what about the linesman, where was he, was he gone for a cup of tea, perhaps he was drinking too much of the cheap vino on offer in Paris that day and had his vision blurred.
And then the next 17 minutes or so had a sense of inevitability, hit and hope balls launched into the box only for the French to stand firm and hold out for their victory.
And what for the ensuing circus which has come from this since then, all and sundry calling for a replay, even Brian Cowen and Dermot Ahern seeking Monsieur Sarkozy to intervene. By our taoiseach calling for a replay means he didn’t have to answer any questions on the economy on Thursday, but in effect he knew by our team qualifying for the world cup would have gotten him off the hook by getting us out of recession, but I’m sure he could have taken all the credit at the next election anyway.
It does not look like FIFA are there for turning, and nor do the French football federation either, as why would they, they hardly want to play us next week after they got out of jail in the manner they did.
From a football point, we will have to just take it on the chin and move on, yes Thierry cheated, and the linesman should have seen it, but things like this do happen in Football, and will keep happening until the powers that be join the 21st century and introduce video replays for contentious goal line incidents.
Should Henry have put his hands up at the time and told the truth, well it would not have been the first time a French man has put his hands up and surrendered, but that was never going to happen.
And what of his comments since, saying that we should have a replay, is he not thinking of his lucrative Gillette contract, or maybe some nice glitzy boot deal he’ll get before next summer.
When in Paris on Wednesday afternoon, I overheard that the French were launching their world cup jersey the day after the game, did Platini and Blatter know something that we didn’t, was Wednesday just a charade or were we just set up?
We’ll have to rely on Mister Cowen and Lenihan to get us moving in the new year, instead of Senior Trapattoni.