Soccer is not a new word for football

Some people can get very sniffy if you use the word soccer. Very sniffy indeed. And there’s no point trying to tell them that the game you played as a kid was called soccer and not football.

It’s American, they’ll tell you. American soccer moms and hot-dogs on the bleachers. Before you know it they’ll want four quarters in our game of, that’s right, Football.

There’s no point in suggesting that the word soccer has the same linguistic origins as the word rugger, originating in English public schools as contractions of rugby football and association football.

No. It’s American. Nobody ever called Football soccer before the Americans started doing it.

Oh, really?

Nobody at all?

How about Jimmy “The Chin” Hill, presenter of Match of the Day and champion of professional footballers’ rights?

soccer jimmy hill

How about Kevin Keegan, captain of England, star of Liverpool and Scunthorpe?

soccer kevin keegan

How about Raich Carter, who played his first game for Sunderland in 1931?

raich carter soccer star

All American soccer moms, no doubt.

But if you don’t believe Jimmy Hill, Kevin Keegan and Raich Carter, do you think a company like Subbuteo would have marketed a board game based on the name of a sport nobody recognised?

soccer subbuteo

All right. It’s still a conspiracy dreamed up by people who wouldn’t know a soccer ball from a burst ball-bag.  Maybe we should turn to historical documentaries.

Here’s one from British Pathé newsreel of the Irish Soccer Derby of 1927.

Pathe Irish soccer derby 1927

British Pathé, you say? British? But … but …


Let me leave you with this clip from a newspaper I found recently when a friend was renovating an old building.

This 1935 article is in the Sunday Pictorial, as the Sunday Mirror used to be known.

Sunday Pictorial 1935 soccer

American, you say?



soccer jimmy hill


soccer by searchlight 1920


Ireland vs Estonia

That’s it, they’re telling us.  It’s all wrapped up and we have one foot on the plane to Poland, but do you know what? I might reserve judgement until the final whistle in Lansdowne Road.  It’s not that I think Estonia will beat Ireland 5-nil, but the celebration just seems a bit premature, and also perhaps a little disrespectful to the opposition.  After all, these guys went to Belgrade and beat Serbia 3-1, so they’re not exactly mugs.

Never mind.  I’m sure Ireland will qualify. Maybe it’s just an unfamiliar feeling to be in such a dominant position.

You probably know if you’re a regular visitor, that I drifted away from soccer over the years as it became increasingly boring and caught up in money, but most of us will remember the national delirium of the 1988 European Championships when Jack Charlton’s team followed his mantra and put ’em under pressure just as they did in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.  It was heavy-handed, brutal stuff and it must have been torture for anyone but the Irish to watch but at the same time, it was wonderful for the country.  It lifted the mood of the entire nation, even if it wasn’t pretty.

Anyone who’s read Nick Hornsby’s Fever Pitch will understood exactly what it means to be a supporter.  You’re not there to see a beautiful game.   You’re there to see a win, and as Hornsby honestly admits, that means you won’t be too worried if an opposing player breaks a leg.

Despite the rise of the soccer millionaire-idiots, Trapattoni seems to have built a team who play for each other, even if the game they play is not particularly attractive or entertaining, but then again, the Italian way has always been to win ugly, and it has been effective.  What exactly did Materazzi say to Zindane in the 2006 final?

They’re about to kick off, and I hope they do well.  Brady, Dunphy and Giles don’t seem to be too worried, so why should I?



At half time, with an Ireland goal from Ward, Estonia are 5-nil down.  Realistically, it’s over.  Short of a nuclear strike, Estonia have no chance at all of overturning the Ireland lead.



57 Minutes. Estonia goal.  6-1.



With five minutes to go, I can’t see Estonia scoring a goal a minute.



That’s it .  Game over.  Result.



Soccer Sport


It’s been a while since I updated you on Scunthorpe United.

Did you know they got promoted?

Well, they did. Now they’re in the Championship, which is the old Second Division. So there!

They reside in the same territory as West Brom, Watford Elton John, and Wolves. Astounding. Did we ever think we’d see it?

Voices off: Eh, well no, actually.

Fuck off, Voices Off. Scunny made it. They’re here and they’re going nowhere else.

Unfortunately, they seem to be back to their old ways, and today they lost 3-1 to Elton John United, placing themselves in their usual slot at mid table. Number 11 out of 24.

Ah shit, it’s what they’re used to. Why complain?

Time to call Wrinkly Joe and see when we’re heading over to England for a Scunthorpe United game. Happy days.



Irish Soccer and Rugby

Did anyone watch that tonight? 


Did you see it?  Did you see that?  Did you watch that piece of shit?

Well, punk?  Did ya?

Was that, or was it not, the final proof that we should give up following a ridiculous game we’re no good at?

Oh wait.  Shit.  I forgot we’re no good at rugby either.  I forgot we lined out against the absolutely WORST fucking team in the entire World Cup and they nearly fucking beat us!! I forgot that this is the best-prepared Irish rugby squad ever, packed full of goddam winners.  Packed full of absolute cast-iron heroes, including a good pile of Munster gods, like the great Paul O Connell, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Peter Stringer, Ronan O Gara and John Hayes.  People who brought us Limerick people to one of the greatest ever moments in our sporting history when we trudged and swam and sailed and flew and worm-holed our way to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (as I did myself, along with my beloved young Bullet) and brought home the Heineken Cup after a gigantic and wonderful odyssey. 

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re captained by a man with the most talent and best hair any rugby player has ever possessed. 

That’s true.  All true.

What a wonderful bunch of guys, and I have not the slightest intention of bad-mouthing even one of them.  They’re our own, and we might meet them any day walking down the street.  Honest as the day is long, and dead straight.

But still, what the fuck?

What the fuck happened against Namibia, the worst team in the whole competition?  The team you expect to bang in a routine hundred points against?  I was talking to a respected former Munster player tonight and I think what he said was right.  He said that we didn’t show them respect.  He said rugby is a game of the heart and if you feel good, you’ll do good.  He said we allowed Namibia to gain heart instead of crushing their spirit and then they punished us.

He was right.  The All Blacks wouldn’t make that mistake and neither would the Australians or the South Africans.   If we’re going to make an impact on this thing, we need to start showing a bit of respect to the opposition, and Eddie O Sullivan needs to start using that bench a whole lot more than he has done.


I seem to have drifted away from soccer, but that’s hardly surprising.  We were shit. We had an open goal and the best we could do was bang it against the upright.  We had a winnable game against Slovakia the other day and we threw it down the toilet.

Why blame the manager?  Staunton was never up to the job.  Let’s blame the FAI fools, including Delaney the cynical dimwit, who appointed him so they could secure their personal positions and make as much personal money for themselves as they could.  Let’s blame the arseholes who decided to suck as much cash as they could out of Irish soccer and never mind if we succeeded in winning anything.

The same fools who sent a team to Saipan with no footballs.

These fuckers don’t care about sport.  All they care about is siphoning enough money out of sport to pay for their houses as fast as possible.

Staunton?  He doesn’t matter.  Any fool will do.  Winning isn’t the point, and if you thought it was, you’re as big a fool as Roy Keane.

kick it on


It’s Kinda Like the Way Kilkenny Beat Limerick, y’know?

Music Soccer

Championes Championes!!

It’s official. As of yesterday, not only are Scunthorpe going to be promoted to the Championship, but they go up as winners of League One.

What do you make of that? The Wrinklies are in confusion, as I am myself, and though we’re all agreed that while it will be great to see Scunthorpe playing against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and maybe West Brom, we’ll have to find some new underdog to follow.

Wrinkly Joe suggests Cowdenbeath, but Wrinkly Paddy rejects that out of hand.

Scunthorpe is cold and gloomy enough, as he put it. I’m fucked if I’m going to visit an even colder, even gloomier town when I could be following some crowd from the south of France.

I’m inclined to agree with Wrinkly Paddy’s point of view. We’ll have to look around for some obscure, struggling Spanish or Italian no-hopers with a beautiful home town and a balmy climate. Any suggestions?

Anyway, that’s enough football shite.

I’m off to town to meet Jimmy Da Wop and Joe the Inquisitor. We’re going to see I’m Your Man, the Leonard Cohen movie. And then we’re going to a live gig. And no doubt we’ll all roll home shit-faced at some ridiculous hour and we’ll have to phone in sick.

Hello? Uh, hi. Look, I can’t come in. I’m sick.

Sick? Every Monday you’re sick.

But I am. I’m really sick.

Yeah? How sick are you?

I’m in bed with my mother.

But your mother is dead.

See? I told you I was sick.

kick it on

Soccer Sport

Zelig United

Today is a big one for the Iron. If they beat Huddersfield this afternoon, Scunthorpe United are guaranteed promotion to the Championship. Next season, if all goes well, they’ll be up against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, QPR and Crystal Palace.



It’s fifteen minutes to kick-off, so I’m just going away now to hide under a table for a while. I’ll come back around five o’clock with news.



Scunthorpe won 2-0. They’re promoted. Wooo hoooo!!


Munster vs Llanelli

Munster play Llanelli tomorrow evening in the quarter final of the European Rugby Cup.

We’re going by road, which means that Bullet and myself have to get up at four in the morning to catch the Rosslare ferry. Christ Almighty.

The game is at 7.30 tomorrow evening and on Saturday we’re going to watch Sunderland playing Cardiff.

Don’t expect too many posts here for the next day or two.


Scunthorpe United

The Scunts are now top of the table.

After the weekend’s results, Scunthorpe United are now on 49 points and Oldham are just behind them on 48, but with a much better goal difference. Forest are also on 48. It looks like the game between Scunthorpe and Oldham on the 13th January will be a big day. I’ll have to watch out for that, and of course I’ll keep you informed.

We’ve decided to go to the Rotherham game on the 17th February. Wrinkly Paddy, Wrinkly Joe and myself have a window available, so we’ll probably instruct our private jet to take us there and fly us back. The BockIndustrie Gmbh corporate aircraft. I can spare it as none of my executives are scheduled to be at crucial meetings that weekend.


Happy Christmas Scunthorpe United

Now, fair play to the Scunts for making a liar out of me. Last week I was taking the piss out of them for their disgraceful defeat at the hands of Blackpool but then, on Friday, they travelled to London and beat Millwall 1-0 with a late goal from Torpey. Helped by some unlikely results the following day, the Scunts are back in second place and only two points behind the league leaders, Notts Forest.

Amazing. Well done, Scunts!

It isn’t beyond human imagination that they could top the table on the 26th. If they beat Chesterfield, and if Forest just draw with Port Vale, the Scunts go to the top of the table on goals difference. Go, Port Vale!!

kick it on