SPECTACULAR U-TURN ON PHENOMENAL DUBS
IT’S ALWAYS nice to get any sort of correspondence from somebody that has taken the time to read an article you’ve written, whether they loved it, were indifferent to it or they thought it was the biggest pile of steaming dung that has ever been inked on to paper.
More often than not it will be the latter, and during the week I was handed a lengthy correspondence from a disgruntled Dublin fan, who was far from enamoured with my lousy attitude.
My crime this time was saying that like most neutrals I felt deeply sorry for Mayo after they suffered another heartbreaking loss in the All-Ireland final. It wasn’t my sympathy for the beleaguered westerners that hit a nerve, rather me having the brass neck to describe myself as anything even resembling a neutral.
When I delved further into the well constructed and well thought out hand-written letter I realised that the deep dissatisfaction with yours truly was a slow-burner that was years in the making and my offences were somewhat of a more historical nature.
The letter writer made no bones about pointing out to me I am in fact the polar opposite of a neutral as I had once proclaimed that I would never support the Dublin footballers, unless in the unlikely event they were playing North Korea, a statement which meant I had painted myself into a corner that there’s no way out of, accusing me of being either a liar or someone suffering from a severe dose of amnesia.
I hold my hands up and accept I must be suffering from slight memory loss, because I didn’t actually recall writing that line and first thought he must be getting me confused with some other, far more opinionated scribe.
I’d be the first to admit I’ve penned plenty of outlandish and corny quips in my time, but surely I couldn’t have said such a dreadful thing?
After much searching through the archives it turned out I had, under a different guise way back in the depths of recession days in the summer of 2009.
It wasn’t just the country that was struggling in those days, it might be hard to imagine now but the Dubs were also in the midst of an All-Ireland drought.
Looking back on it now it was a throwaway, yet stupid line, and you tend to forget that these days when thoughts flow from your brain to the page you leave an online footprint that’s there forever.
However, we’re all entitled to change our tune with the passage of time. As I’ve matured my opinions have altered, as they’re bound to. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge in the intervening years.
I was not long married at the time of the cheeky jibe, and now two kids, plenty of grey hairs and a few inches on the waistline later my world view would be unrecognisable from back then.
Sure didn’t Eamon Dunphy once say Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘a cod’ and ‘a disgrace to the game’?
Many choose a soccer franchise across the water or vote for a certain political party and stick with that for life, some gleefully hop on to whatever bandwagon rolls into town and others, like myself, methodically mould their views over time.
I may have denigrated the Dublin footballers in the past, more so for the pantomime that surrounded them than for the players themselves, but I can now say, hand on heart, that I admire the current crop for what they’ve achieved, and most of all how they go about their business, setting the bar high for the other title-wannabes.
My objectivity was also called into question, but the very nature of a column is that it’s an opinion piece and if you tried to be balanced all the time you’d end up sounding like you’re arguing with yourself.
I might be many things - a grumpy old git, maybe, as changeable as the Irish weather, certainly, but one thing I wouldn’t consider myself to be is a liar.
So when I say well done Dublin, true blue champions, I mean it, without having to force the words out through gritted teeth.
I’ve even found myself rooting for the Boys in Blue occasionally in recent years when they’ve been locking horns against other counties which I wouldn’t have a particular grá for, teams which don’t play the game in the manner I would consider to be the right way, but I’ll decline to mention them for fear of getting my wrists slapped yet again.
Sometimes it’s nice to receive stinging criticism as it makes you sit back and question your own opinions and judgements.
In the words of the great Bob Dylan, the times, and indeed the mindset of this columnist, they are a changin’.
Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire Cup.