Categories
Soccer

Limerick FC appeals for money to survive

Remember that era when there was still some romance left in the European Cup, that time before the money men took over and UeFa capitulated to pay-per view?

Back in 1980/81 Limerick United went into the hat for the European Cup draw after being crowned LOI champions for the second time in their history the previous season.

Would it be a trip to the arsehole of eastern European to take on Dynamo whatever – or maybe the mighty Reds of Liverpool?

Nope, it was neither. Limerick were drawn against the aristocrats of world soccer, Real Madrid, home and away. The Galacticos were coming to town. Well not quite, because Limerick soccer chiefs decided to play the first leg to Landsdowne Road, Dublin. Imagine if we had them in Thomond Park lads?

Just over 6,000 showed up to watch Lims play Madrid off the field only to lose out 2-1 – Limerick’s Johnny Matthews  being denied a perfectly legitimate goal following a dodgy linesman’s flag. The Spaniards were also awarded a dubious penalty at IRFU headquarters.

Des Kennedy netted for Limerick in Dublin and he also rattled the rigging in the Bernabeau in the return leg, which Madrid won 5-1 to advance to the 2nd round 7-2 on aggregate. Does anyone know of another Irishman who scored home and away against Real Madrid in the European Cup? Don’t bother googling because there is none.

Incidentally, Madrid conceded just four goals en route to the European Cup final that year where they were beaten 1-0. And it was another Kennedy, Alan, of the mighty Liverpool, who netted the only goal of the game for the Merseyside giants in Paris.

Those were the glory days. But these days the club is in financial difficulty and needs your help. As the mighty Munster routinely fill Thomond Park with 26,000 supporters, Limerick FC eke out an existence on average crowds of 400.

They currently occupy a mid-table position in the First Division.

Manager Pat Scully, the former Shamrock Rovers boss, has put a fine young side together and the club have unveiled some very ambitious plans for the future. However, the financial situation at the club is rapidly becoming untenable. Jack McCarthy, a New Jersey based lawyer, is Chairman of Limerick FC and has very generously dipped into his own pocket to keep the club afloat. But McCarthy, who has family ties in Kilkenny and Clare, has stressed the importance of further funding to reach their goal of self sufficiency.

The club needs €70,000 immediately and has already received significant contributions from local business people. A lottery has been set up for ordinary supporters to help out at a cost of â€21 per month, and all other voluntary contributions will be welcomed to help the club survive.

Categories
Soccer

Scunthorpe Meet Millwall in Play-Offs

The Scunts beat MK Dons in a penalty shoot-out to get through to the League One play-off final. If they win this they’ll be back up to the Championship.

We didn’t get over to see them in a while now.  You might remember our last ridiculous attempt to see a Scunthorpe match, which ended in total failure after  Ryanair decided they couldn’t be bothered doing what we paid them for, and left us stranded at Dublin airport.

Bah.

Anyway, as I said, the Scunts are bidding for a second shot at the Championship, and we all wish them luck.

___________

Previously on Bock

Millwall 1 – Scunthorpe 2

Scunthorpe United

Munster, Scunthorpe, Gaelic Football and Ryder Cup

Scunthorpe United

Scunthorpe United

Munster Lose to Wasps by a Single Point, and Scunthorpe Lose to Blackpool, for Fucksake!!

Scunts

Championes Championes!!

Zelig United

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Categories
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 kick.ie

Categories
Soccer Sport

Scunster

Now look. It’s like this.

We travelled to Llanelli in high hope, and we were beaten fair and square by a team who were better on the night. We have no complaints, though obviously we were downcast and disappointed. We travelled home in our thousands, sadder but philosophical about it.

And then we heard the news that the French and the English clubs don’t want to take part next year, so there might be no more European Rugby Cup for [tag]Munster[/tag] to win.

Today, sadly, Llanelli lost to Leicester and are out of the Cup.

Dear God Almighty, is there no end to this dismal litany?

Well, actually there is, because last week our little [tag]Scunthorpe[/tag] club, whom we follow with devotion, though they are located in a foreign land and play not rugby but Association Football (soccer to everyone but the Brits) secured promotion to the Championship. That’s only one league below Manchester United and Chelsea. Scunthorpe!! What??

And today, by beating Tranmere, they virtually guaranteed their place as champions of League One.

Now, this is no consolation for [tag]Munster[/tag] falling out of the European Rugby Cup, and I’m not suggesting it has any significance at all for Limerick people. I’ll be more direct that that : it hasn’t. Most Limerick people have never heard of Scunthorpe, with the exception of the worn-out few who have to listen to me ranting on about them.

Nevertheless, for those who actually travel to Scunthorpe for games, when idiot airlines permit it, this is a bit of a lift. OK. It isn’t [tag]rugby[/tag] and it isn’t Munster, but hey, it’s something to lift the gloom. N’est ce pas?

Championes!! Championes!!

kick it on kick.ie

Categories
Soccer

The Aintree Grand National

I was so consumed by anxiety over Scunthorpe that I neglected to even watch the Grand National, never mind put money on a horse.

So I have nothing to say about it. I didn’t see it.

Dum dee dum dee dumm dumm . . .

What to do?

I know, why not read what I said about it last year?

Great idea Bock. It’s here: Numbersixvalverde.

Lazy old Bock. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

Categories
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.

Scunthorpe!!

What??

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.

=====================================

UPDATE

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

Categories
Sport Stories

No More Heineken Cup?

I bumped into my friend Hopkins this morning.

Morning, Boss, I greeted him. Grand weather for Good Friday.

Hopkins stared at me manically.

What none would have known of it, only the heart, being hard at bay,

Is out with it! Oh,
We lash with the best or worst
Word last! How a lush-kept plush-capped sloe
Will, mouthed to flesh-burst,
Gush! — flush the man, the being with it, sour or sweet,
Brim, in a flash, full! — Hither then, last or first,
To hero of Calvary, Christ,’s feet —
Never ask if meaning it, wanting it, warned of it — men go.

I’d been expecting this. So, I said, you were listening to the news about the rugby, were you?

Some find me a sword; some

The flange and the rail; flame,

Fang, or flood,’ goes Death on a drum
Hopkins always was passionate about sport.

Yes,
I said. I feel bad about it too. I suppose the French had their reasons for pulling out, but at the same time, it’s very disappointing.

Hopkins spat, and laughed a bitter little snort. NOT, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist slack they may be these last strands of man In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more.

Indeed, I replied. Very profound. But look, Boss, this isn’t the end of the world. I mean, we might not have the Heineken Cup next year, but there will surely be some kind of European competition.

Hopkins stared at me as if I had gone mad. No!! Worse!! There is none!!!!

Categories
Sport Stories

Wales

I was hoping to bring some kind of semi-coherent report of the Wales trip, but to be completely honest with you, I’m still shattered from it, emotionally and physically.

I’m exhausted.

Why?

I don’t know why.

Yes, we did have to get up at half past three in the morning, which is a bit of a conundrum in itself. What’s the best thing to do: get up or stay up? And yes, we did have a three-hour drive to Rosslare. Six of us in Paulie’s big fuck-off new jeep-thing with a talking GPS thing called Mary that speaks to you in American. Take a left! And yes, the boat journey did involve gallons of beer, bad burgers, mescaline, Bourbon whiskey and the holy game of poker. Yes indeed, and also forays out on deck to machine-gun seagulls, which was tiring. Then of course, there was more drinkahol and brown acid, but you’d expect that.

It isn’t as if I went out on the town after the game like the other drunken swine we travelled with. How could I? What kind of monster would send the poor little Bullet back to a silent hotel room alone in a taxi? No, not I. While my fellow travellers wandered the mean streets in search of new ways to sate their jaded old desires, I was back in the Hotel Bland, watching shite on Sky TV and drinking watery beer in the Bland Bar.

Come on, Bullet, I said. Now that we’ve come back here to this ridiculous hotel where the staff speak only Russian, let’s have a real good father-and-son time, especially since I’ve given up a rockin’ night on the town because of you. Son.

Ah, I think I’ll just go to bed, replied Bullet, who wandered off to the room to practise cool blues licks and generally lounge around being a lot cooler than me.

Excellent. Well then, I’ll just sit here in this horrible anonymous hotel bar with these sad old businessmen and their nineteen-year-old hooker girlfriends. What a great idea!

So, I reckon the exhaustion is probably due to emotional stress and extreme envy at the drunken fuckers being out on the town while I share a warm beer with pathetic old red-nosed businessmen and extremely stupid young hookers.

Did I mention we got stuffed? Yes. Hammered. Llanelli had their homework done. Do you know something really rotten? Will I tell you? What’s really rotten is walking through some town in your team colours after they’ve beaten the shit out of you, and it’s really hard to do that bloodied-but-unbowed thing like in the movies. Spartacus I ain’t. The Llanelli people, being what they are, like Munster people, come over and shake your hand and they say Hard luck, you’ll be back next year and you know they mean it. You know it’s intended with respect, and you want to take it like that, so you reach out and shake their hand and say Well done. Great performance. But what you really want to say is Fuck off! Don’t tell me hard luck!! Can’t you see I have enough problems?

I have no idea what kind of town Llanelli is, because I didn’t see much of it, apart from a pub called the Sandpiper, where we went before the match. I do know, however, from past experience, what decent and friendly folk the Llanelli people are. They have often visited us here in Limerick for Heineken Cup and Celtic League matches, and I’ve always found them great company.

It would have been nice, after the game, to visit one or two of the local hostelries, but it wasn’t ever going to happen. For one thing, some of our people were so disgusted by the result that they just wanted out of the place. Besides that, Dickler in his infinite wisdom, had booked a hotel in Swansea. Which is not Llanelli. The Hotel Bland, in an industrial estate in Swansea. I hope he isn’t reading this. (Ssshh! Next year, if we play them, I’m going to stay in Llanelli in a bed-and-breakfast and find out what it’s like. I’ll even drink beer in their pubs and talk to the locals, and I bet they don’t have two heads or anything).

Did I mention Cardiff?

No.

Well, the last time I was in Cardiff, it was also in the company of the Bullet, and it was in May 2006. On that occasion, however, we were at the Millennium Stadium to win the European Rugby Cup. Jesus, how the mighty are fallen. This time, it was to watch Cardiff play Sunderland, Roy Keane’s team. Now, I have to tell you a little bit about the gang I was with. To a man, they are dyed-in-the-wool, muck-savage country-boys who never played anything but hurling and rugby. None of them had ever been at a soccer match in their lives, and therefore it was a little embarrassing to note the police paddy-wagons lined up beside the stadium. They’re all looking at me because they’ve decided I’m the soccer expert.

Me? I say. Do you really believe that supporting Scunthorpe makes me an expert?

No, they say, but at least you’ve been to a game. And then they gesture towards the paddy-wagons. What’s the story, Boss?

I can understand their perplexity. Last night, we were mixed in with the Llanelli people, shaking hands and laughing. (Well, maybe not exactly laughing, but you know – that sort of thing). Today, we have a phalanx of riot police separating the supporters. This aspect of soccer I will never understand.

I shrug. Keep the heads down and the mouths shut.

They all frown and nod.

We enter the ground two hours early and get stuck into their beer, their hot-dogs, their chips, their pie-things and more of their beer. We enter the ground and we sit down (being seated). The match kicks off and it is truly shite, as many games often are, but then, without warning, a commanding figure emerges from his dug-out. A man among men. A mighty human being, a true king of sporting kings. Who is that man in black? That’s Montgomery Clift Roy Keane, Honey!

Bestriding the world like a Colossus.

Great, says Dickler, and swings his camera into position, a very nice Canon EOS and tripod. Quick as a flash, a squat lady with a specially-coloured steward’s jacket approaches. This is an important jacket. Better than the other stewards. They only have yellow, but this jacket has blue patches on the shoulders and a bit that says Team Leader. Oh dear Jesus, spare us from Team Leaders.

You can’t use that camera.

Why not?

It’s a professional camera. You can’t use it.

It’s an ordinary camera.

No. It’s professional.

What’s professional about it?

It just is.

This woman’s experience of cameras clearly involves buying a disposable for a week in Marbella. In this Team Leader’s world, any other kind of camera must be professional. In this Team Leader’s experience, there’s nothing like a bit of power. This Team Leader is not to be denied. Fuck it, we all think, what a life. You’re such a sad individual that this is your world: you get to direct people at a football match and then you go home to your four obese children and your Dutch-Gold-addicted husband. Why wouldn’t you enjoy a few minutes power? Suddenly, we’re all consumed by righteous anger. Jesus, Dickler, let the poor woman alone, for fucksake!

Dickler cringes and and puts away the camera.

And that’s why we didn’t get a shot of Roy.

We go on to experience the most painful 105 minutes I have ever known. A display of pure boredom such as I have never experienced at the worst soccer match I have seen since the age of five. Karma. The four muck-savage rugby players declare to a man Never again, Boss.

And we all fuck off, back to the Hotel Bland, for more mescaline, Bourbon Whiskey and brown acid.

Til next year, then. Did I mention we got stuffed?

kick it on kick.ie

Categories
Sport

Llanelli 24 – Munster 15

They murdered us.

The scoreline does no justice to a team who outplayed Munster in every aspect of the game. Llanelli were outstanding and they walked all over us right from the start and when the Munster team went in at half time 17-0 down, there was never going to be any way back.

The next forty minutes were really just a way of helping our supporters to get used to it.

OK. That’s the end of that until next year. Shit!

Categories
Sport

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.