What we need is an­other Italia 90

Bray People - - Colm Lambert -

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.

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