Tag Archives: Thierry henry

Slower, Lower, Frailer

Changes are being made to the Olympic Stadium in London ahead of the 2012 games.

A ninth lane is being added to the running track, so that any Irish athletes who do not qualify for the final will be allowed to run anyway.

Panic-stricken Olympic Council members, fearful of Irish protests whenever things don’t go our way, have tried to pre-empt the situation by giving us every possible chance of success.

Other measures which they are taking include:

  • since we have never really adapted to the metric system in any case (we still drink pints, and drive in miles per hour), we will be allowed to run yards while other athletes run in metres giving us a 10% advantage;
  • John and Edward will compete for us in the Synchronised Swimming. Those who saw their attempts at dancing in the X-Factor will know they have no idea what the word synchronised means, but apparently they’ll be guaranteed at least a bronze as long as they don’t actually drown;
  • our golfers will be allowed two Mulligans;
  • the Rose of Tralee competition and the Ballybunion Bachelor of the Year contest are both being recognised as Olympic sports;
  • as we have no 50-metre swimming pools, the races will take place in the kind of conditions our swimmers train in – in a pool twenty-feet long, full of kids and smelling disturbingly of wee.

Meanwhile, following our horrified discovery that there is an entire Olympic sport called “handball”, we have demanded that this be removed from the games.

Please don’t laugh at any of the above (don’t worry, Tinman, we weren’t planning to). FIFA president Sepp Blatter laughed openly at our suggestion that we be admitted to the World Cup as a 33rd team and was forced to apologise by enraged Irish officials.

Now I happen to think that Sepp Blatter is an unctuous git who looks like the love-child of George Graham and Silvio Berlusconi, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong to laugh.

Play It Again, Samson

As the furore and demands for a replay continue following our handball-driven elimination from the World Cup on Wednesday (there were protesters outside the French embassy in Dublin yesterday, for God’ s sake), a number of past sporting injustices have been revisited with a view to seeking replays in those cases as well. 

1. The 2007 Irish General Election

Let’s start with the easy one. The current Government won this one by telling the people that it knew what it was doing. In hindsight it is obvious that this was blatantly untrue,  and therefore a clear breach of any principle of Fair Play. There should therefore be a replay, preferably as soon as possible.

Pundits predict the replay will be close, and might even go to penalties. These will be levied against the rogue bankers who destroyed our economy, and could be as high as fifty euro each.

2. The Trojan War

The Greek strikers emerged unnoticed from the horse, which even the Greeks themselves will admit was behind the Trojan defensive wall. As an example of blatant offside, this one is hard to top.

Should victory go the other way in the replay, we may have to start referring to Trojan Salad, and the movie Grease may have to be renamed.

3. Indiana Jones v the Karate Bloke in the First Movie

I’m sure you all remember this one, since it was actually captured on film. Indy was confronted by the Karate Bloke, who threw a few threatening and limb-dislocating shapes, whereupon Indy took out a gun and shot him. While this was admittedly funny, it broke the Fair Play principle that the hero should always take the high moral ground.

A replay may be difficult in this case, since the Karate Bloke didn’t survive the first match. A compromise may be found where Indy is banned for three films, and many who saw the last one feel that this may indeed be the best solution all round.

4.    Adam & Eve v God

Adam & Eve were quite happy until one day God said “whatever you do, don’t touch that apple”. Since God was the one who had actually invented human nature he must have known what would happen next. Clearly therefore this was entrapment, a fore-runner of the trick where the cops sell you drugs and then arrest you for buying them.

If Adam and Eve triumph in the replay (and this is by no means certain, human nature means they may still be dumb enough to eat the apple again) then we all get to move back into the Garden of Eden. While this will be a bit small and has quite tacky garden ornaments (cherubims with flaming swords, for feck’s sake, we might as well get gnomes with fishing rods), on the bright side it has lovely weather, full-frontal nudity and an abundance of food, so long as you like apples.

5. Moses v the Egyptians

Much of the ire about last Wednesday’s defeat stems from the conspiracy theory that the powers above, in this case FIFA, wanted France to qualify instead of a small country like us, and so fixed the game in some way. Those who say such things simply don’t happen should examine the Moses file very carefully.

The race between Moses, his people and the Egyptians was going to be a close-run thing until God (who remember has form in this type of behaviour, see #4 above) suddenly intervened by parting and then unparting (thank you Facebook, for the idea for that word) the Red Sea. Perhaps he had Moses backed in the bookies.

While there is no way of preventing God from interfering again in the replay (would you like to be the one to tell him not to?) the game is going to be slightly evened up by issuing the Egyptians with wet-suits and surfboards.

6. Jennifer v Angelina

The contest between Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie for the Brad Pitt Trophy (or, in fact, the trophy Brad Pitt) was never a fair one. Angelina used heavy weaponry such as beautiful eyes, long legs and a mouth that could swallow you whole, while poor Jen was armed with nothing more than girl-next-door good looks and a hairstyle named after herself.

Angie then dealt the final undercover (in every sense) blow by putting out while she and Brad were working together on Mr and Mrs Smith. In essence this was just a standard sordid office affair, though with larger than normal weekly paycheques.

I’m not sure what form this replay is going to take. My first thought was that Jennifer and Angelina should mud-wrestle, and, well, I’m afraid that this has driven all other thoughts out of my head.

But Now Its Getting Embarrassing

Oh God.

Our Football Association has demanded a replay.

Our Minister for Justice has demanded a replay.

And now our Taoiseach has demanded a replay, and is to raise it with Nicolas Sarkozy.

They know this will not happen – cannot happen. There are referring mistakes in every game, and to allow a replay here would open a floodgate which would mean no tournament would ever end, ever. The most that could possibly happen, and I would support it, is that Henry be suspended for three games, starting at the World Cup. FIFA could also finally bow to those who see video technology used in sports such as rugby union, rugby league and cricket, all of which are far less financially well-off, and can’t see why the dinosaurs at the top of soccer refuse to allow the same. These steps would show that FIFA’s continual preaching about fair play is not just empty words. To do any more would show a lack of support for a referee who, let’s face it, cannot give a handball that he doesn’t see.

So why have the politicians jumped in? Some sort of attempt at currying favour with the electorate?

I’d rather the Justice Minister found a way of dealing with gangland killings and tiger kidnappings.

I’d rather Brian Cowen challenged the AIB bank which is laughing at his government’s attempt to force change upon their management culture and pay rates.

We were great, we were unlucky, and we lost. The French scored what proved to be a winning goal by cheating, but it was scored with 17 minutes to go, not with the last move of the game. We can’t say that, had it been disallowed, we’d have won, or that we’d have reached penalties, or that we’d have lost.

We should accept that with dignity, taking the higher moral ground, while still secretly suspecting that if the situation were reversed we would be quick to pour scorn on any suggestion of a replay.

All we’re doing now is making eejits of ourselves.

Trying to Find a Bright Side

So, we’re out of the World Cup, thanks largely (though not of course entirely) to Thierry Henry’s handball.

I’m trying to think of something to cheer myself up, and can think of only one thing.

You know those really dreadful Gillette Fusion ads, featuring the world’s greatest golfer, the world’s greatest tennis player and a bloke who plays 70 minutes of football each week for Barcelona?

We probably won’t have to look at them on RTE any more.