What we need is another Italia 90
SOMETHING happened at the end of the ‘80s to not just lift this country, but catapult it into a whole new universe.
A bunch of grown men in green jerseys under the guidance of a flat-capped Yorkshireman sprinkled magic on the air and kick-started the dawning of better times.
Big Jack led our soccer team to its first World Cup Finals in Italy and oh how welcome it would be to relive even a flicker of those memories again.
What was so wonderful about that trip to southern Europe was not just the action on the field but what happened on the streets of towns and cities back home.
Tricolours were draped from windows, faces were painted green white and gold and songs like Give it a Lash Jack and The Team that Jack Built blared from car radios. Then, for what seemed like an eternity, Put ‘em Under Pressure replaced the National Anthem as the last dance of the evening for our nightclub revellers.
Paul McGrath was the man every bloke wanted to have a pint with and Chris Morris started the housewives thinking when they saw his blondie locks on the front of the Sunday World, revealing his furtive encounters with the ladies.
Jack and the boys did more to elevate the long-lingering depression that bordered our social scene than any number of generations of politicians could ever aspire to.
They were innocent times however, and the days before the media over-analysed every step a player might take. Except for Eamon Dunphy of course, who knew exactly what careerseeds he was planting with his stinging attacks - hence the €330,000 salary that RTE are paying him today. Minus 10 per cent. While Giovanni Trapattoni does not quite sit among the upper league of charming gentlemen where you’ll find Charlton, he operates, perhaps, on the next tier.
Should he get us to the World Cup in South Africa next summer with a moderate bunch of hard-working players then legendary status and the freedom of the country awaits.
That and a golden rod to help him pluck the salmon from the River Shannon.
COWEN’S POKER FACE
BRIAN COWEN was blessed with a poker face that you only wish they were selling by the bucketful below in Argos. And now is time for him to put it to good use.
The Government now has the banks over a barrell and whether we like it or not, they have us too. If the Taoiseach sits back for a moment and digests the potential of the trump card he is holding then he’ll see that with a little bit of give and take, some of his credibility could be restored.
Most people in this country are concerned that if things continue to decline as they are, then they will be unable to pay their mortgages. Some people can’t already.
Who landed us with these massive repayments in the first place? The banks. And who now needs the Government to bail them out of their financial woe? The banks.
The Taoiseach should negotiate a deal where the banks agree to cut significant chunks from these immorally high mortgages and in return they’ll ensure that they stay afloat. It would give a lot of people more breathing space and prevent a whole house of cards from tumbling to the floor.