Ir­ish leg­end Packie re­calls Read­ing rows over Ge­orge Weah’s ‘best mate’

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Lyons

PACKIE Bon­ner is re­mem­bered as a Celtic and Re­pub­lic of Ire­land goal­keep­ing great – but he did also have an un­der­whelm­ing spell as as­sis­tant man­ager to Tommy Burns at Read­ing in the late 90s.

In his new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Packie Bon­ner – The Last Line, he tells a great story about Mass Sarr Jr, a Liberian they signed from Croa­t­ian side Had­juk Split.


“Mass had one of those fan­tas­tic de­buts for the club where, I kid you not, he played like Pele. Af­ter the match, it was the cus­tom of Tommy, my­self and Read­ing coach Ste­vie Kean to stretch out in the in­di­vid­ual baths in the dress­ing room and shoot the breeze.That day,there was only one sub­ject.

“Tommy started it.‘What about Mass Sarr? Whose idea was it to sign him?’

“Ste­vie and I dis­agreed.‘No, it was me Tommy,’ I as­serted just ahead of Ste­vie who was adamant that he had spot­ted Mass’s po­ten­tial when he went to Croa­tia to see him play and we, all three of us, ar­gued the toss over who had made the deal.

“Tommy had the fi­nal say – ‘I am the man­ager so I’m re­spon­si­ble’.

“Un­for­tu­nately, Mass’s de­but proved to be a false dawn and he never, ever played as well as that again for us. I won­dered for a while if we had mis­read his CV and mis­took Liberian for Li­brar­ian!

“Cue the post­match bath, then, a few months later, when the three of us were once again stretched out, this time af­ter a less-than-thrilling per­for­mance from Ge­orge Weah’s ‘best mate’.

“Tommy started it again.‘Right, who the f**k was re­spon­si­ble for sign­ing Mass Sarr again? It cer­tainly wasn’t ME!’

“And, yes, you guessed it, Ste­vie and I put up an equal fight like Si­mon Pe­ter be­fore the cock crowed!”

Bon­ner also tells a nice tale from around the time when nowIp­swich man­ager Mick McCarthy was in charge of the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the leg­endary Jack Charl­ton.


They were at Dublin Air­port Ho­tel hav­ing a cof­fee when a cou­ple of older ladies started look­ing at McCarthy.

“Even­tu­ally one came over. ‘Ah, now – I know your face.’ Mick just smiled as I started to laugh but she per­sisted.

“‘Ah, I def­i­nitely know you. Are you on the TV?’ But still Mick never re­sponded with his name so she went away, only to re­turn mo­ments later with a large smile on her face. “‘Ah, I DO know you.You’re the foot­ball man­ager.The new Ir­ish man­ager…’

“This time Mick nod­ded only for her to say... ‘You’re JACK McCarthy, aren’t you?’”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.