Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge



On Saturday, I turned down the chance to participate in a football vs. X Factor debate on Newtalk’s Weekend Blend. (Ireland’s World Cup qualifier in Croker that evening clashed with the popular television show.) I told the producers that I find the whole X Factor phenomenon so monumentally stupid, I wasn’t prepared to waste my breath even slagging it off. Just as well I did too, or I’d probably have been accused of intellectual snobbery by Sarah Carey in the Irish Times today. The second reason, which I didn’t mention, was that I don’t consider myself a true Irish soccer fan. Not really. I mean, I watch all the matches. I know all the players. But I don’t spend weeks on tenderhooks in advance of a big match. I don’t sink into a depression when results don’t go our way. That was once the case, of course. But after Ireland let slip a 2-0 lead – and with it our chances of World Cup qualification – against Israel in Landsdowne Road in 2005, I allowed my ardor to wane a little bit.

There was heartache enough, I reasoned, in being a Mayo football fan. That couldn’t be helped. That was in my DNA. But this… This was an extra dose of misery I would be better off without.

Just when I thought I was out though… etc. etc. Tonight, Giovanni Trapattoni’s side were magnificent. And I couldn’t help but get caught up the drama. I jumped for every cross, lunged for every tackle and (like the rest of you, I suspect) stared in utter disbelief as a player I had previously considered one of the classiest in the game, sent us packing with one of the most egregious acts of cheating I’ve seen this side of an Afghan presidential election.

There’s no justice for the little guy, it’s true. But then the more perceptive among us would have deduced as much long ago. I’m not going to tear (what remains of) my hair out, whinging about something bullshit football result I cannot change. Instead I’ll take what small modicum of revenge is mine to take and then get on with my life. Poland/Ukraine 2012 (dramatic, unjust exit from) – here we come!

P.S. For what it’s worth, Le Monde says Ireland were “far more deserving of the precious sesame [of qualification for South Africa]…”

November 19th, 2009.


  1. Colin Says:

    The introduction of seeding when qualification was almost complete (F you Michel Platini) and then tonight really adds up to a pill too bitter to swallow.

    I didn’t know what to expect from Ireland tonight, but the bastards played their hearts out, though it was a pity not to end it 2 – 0 in regular time. None could have expected this shit.

    Gillette have that ad with Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Henry. Two of those players participate in sports where they admit to their fouls.

    I can only wish France the same may disappointment in the World Cup.

    (Rant over)

  2. Matt Says:

    Wanted Ireland to win but don’t really care about football. However, it’s nice to see you’ve used a Wire quote in the headline. We knew you’d come around!

  3. Colin Says:

    “Yes, there is handball but I am not the referee,” Henry said. “I’m in the box, there are two defenders in front of me. The ball bounced off my hand, the referee did not see it and I played on.

    “It doesn’t change anything to the fact that I’m happy we have qualified.”

    The matter is final, Henry the Happy Cheat.

  4. Eoin Says:

    @ Colin – fuck it, don’t lose any sleep over it.

    @ Matt – thought ya’d like that. Swear to God, my original headline was going to be something like “I’m sure David Simon has some pity line that describes the injustice of it all…”

    Then I thought about a second longer and realised, “…oh yeah, he does!”

  5. Eoin Says:

    Besides, if it hadn’t been for the goal, the game’d have gone to penalties.

    Who’d have scored for us? Robbie Keane probably, Damien Duff maybe, Kevin Kilbane… I dunno, he might have made amends for 2002 or he might not. I could definitely have seen Glen Whelan missing if he hadn’t made way for Gibson…

  6. Andrew Says:

    Extra painful for me as an Arsenal fan. I remember Henry bleating on and on about fair play, and I somehow believed him. What a monumental cheating cunt.

  7. Hoff Says:

    Sick-, sick-, sick-, sickening!!

  8. Neal Says:

    “We’re going to go the World Cup, but we go to the locker-room with our heads bowed. It was not something to be proud of. I’m not going to party” – Bixente Lizarazu.

    Probably not 100% accurate (I’d they the rest of the French team were all celebrating), but fair play, Bixente.

  9. Colin Says:

    The Hand of Frog, Team Hansson and a 2010 Summer of booing France.

    The only way this gets worse is if Jedward gets voted out on Sunday.

  10. golden graham Says:

    Bad. Even Chevy Chase would have a hard time making light of this.

  11. El Kid Says:

    John Delaney giving out stink on Sky News, adamant there has to be a replay.

  12. Eoin Says:

    I’m watching it EK. Feck all chance of succeeding, I’d say. But I suppose he has to give it a go.

  13. k-fed Says:

    it’s happened before.. http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/archive/germany2006/news/newsid=27212.html

    oh and my dear, sarah carey is one major sadact.

  14. Dolly Says:

    I was only a kid in 1990 and 94, and not much more in 2002. The excitement and pride of Ireland being in the World Cup was something I’ll never forget. It seem cruel to think that kids growing up now are being denied.

    And that the culprit was a player I’d always thought of as one of the few gentlemen in the game only makes it all the more sickening.

  15. Colin Says:

    The Uzbekistan-Bahrain was different. The referee there ruled against the actual rules, to the detriment of the game. Here the ref didnt spot anything and ruled on nothing, his decision stands.

    As for Sarah, she loves her X-factor, her entertaining article was also written before the game. And she did get it right with:

    “Fifa was frightened when France and other popular teams failed to top their groups, thus threatening the viewership of the World Cup. Appalled at the potential damage to the ratings, they just changed the rules and seeded the teams to help them get through. So who are the cheaters here?”

    The idea of cheaters sure resonates now.

  16. Lisa Says:

    Whatever of the football thing, never budge on the X-factor inanity issue.

  17. Matt Says:

    To be fair, Jim Corr did predict this.

  18. Eoin Says:

    @ K-Fed – I agree with Colin on this, it’s not the same thing. One doesn’t make many friends being levelheaded at a time of great public outrage, but it’s worth remembering that, if the goal had been disallowed, Ireland would not have gone through. Game would probably have gone to penalties which Ireland would probably have lost.

    Also, I do not endorse any criticism of Sarah Carey. We obviously disagree about X Factor, but then I disagree with my mother and three sisters on the same topic and it’s no big thing.

    @ Matt -Thierry Henry is the nexus doorway into the bigger picture.

    @ Neal – Wow, Bixente Lizarazu’s first name is even stupider than his surname.

  19. Keith M. Says:

    @ Dolly – What your basically sayin is won’t someone please think of the children. Which is lame. But to be honest I agree with ya mate because my little brother is ten. Doesn’t remember 2002 and was absolutely devastated last night when Gallas’ goal was allowed.

  20. Eoin Says:

    @ Keith/Dolly – That’s gas. My mother says that after Italy beat Ireland in the World Cup in 1990, I was absolutely inconsolable. Wouldn’t talk for hours afterwards.

  21. Neal Says:

    @Eoin – He’s from near the Pyrenees in the south of France; Bixente is the Basque equivalent of Vincent.

  22. Eoin Says:

    @ Neal – well, I learn something new every day!

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