MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: It's Euro cliché bingo

First published in Michael Pearlman

I KNOW it is easy to sit in your armchair and to use Twitter as a potent weapon for sneering and criticising everything and anything unnecessarily, but who saw the Republic of Ireland game on Sunday?

Now, first off, thank goodness for the European Championships. Football as always is the saving grace of June and a timely reminder that even years are simply more fun than odd ones.

It is a chance to continue the warm glow you had from the season just gone or, for most of us, a chance to watch good players and escape the grim reality of the disappointment of how your club fared.

I’ve yet to miss a minute of the tournament so far and the football has been refreshing, attacking intent and exciting games have made it much more satisfying than the uber negative 2010 World Cup.

I’m not going to deride the Irish, even though some of their players are clearly not international quality, because they qualified and their place in Poland and Ukraine is fully merited.

But watching them was a painful experience, all because of the extraordinarily patronising and cliched manner in which were covered by ITV.

Did you know that Irish fans are noisy? Yes I did. They’ve been drinking beer and haven’t been to a major tournament in a decade. What else would you expect?

If you missed it, Ireland scored an equaliser and the camera panned to fans jumping up and down and shouting and screaming, waving their arms and pumping their fists in a moment of pure joy. “That’s how the Irish celebrate,” we were told by the commentator, Peter Drury.

No Peter, that’s how every football fan on this planet celebrates a goal.

Stop telling me the Irish are plucky, that the Spaniards are stylish and that Germany are efficient in major tournaments. I have eyes, a brain and an ability to think (despite what you might have read on messageboards).

There were so many sloppy Irish cliches on Sunday I half expected Drury or Jim Beglin to scream ‘potato’ in a break in play.

But at least the football is good. Very good indeed. Long may that continue.

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