The Irish Times – Monday, February 6, 2012
A soccer miscellany compiled by MARY HANNIGAN
Word of mouth
“The best is to wear a surfing suit. and with 15 minutes left, you pee in the suit and then you can go straight to the shower.”
– St Etienne goalkeeper Jeremie Janot with a useful tip on how to keep warm in this wintry weather.
Hagi-ography: Unique shirt design is a bit in your face
GHEORGHE Hagi wasn’t always known for his modesty during his playing days, but when you’re the “Maradona of the Carpathians” you’re probably entitled to feel good about yourself.
Maybe it was that reputation that inspired Puma’s design for a new kit for Romanian second division side Viitorul Constanta, owned by none other than Hagi himself.
According to the “Who Ate All The Pies” website, Hagi asked Puma to design a “unique” strip for his players, so they “came back with a pale blue shirt with Hagi’s face emblazoned across the front”.
We’ve still to spot the jersey in our local shop, but we’ll assume it’s authentic. and there’s certainly no word of Hagi, modestly, sending it back.
Big in Tehran: Zayed scores nine-minute hat-trick and wins many new friends
IT’S not often that your football-reading takes you to the Tehran Times , but then it’s not often that a Dubliner scores a hat-trick in nine minutes to win his team the Tehran derby. little wonder, then, that Eamon Zayed is our man of the week.
“Persepolis made one of the greatest comebacks in Iran’s domestic football history when the team, which was at deficit of 2-0 up to the 82nd minute in the game, scored three stunning goals during the last nine minutes,” said the (fortunately for us) English-language paper.
For anyone who somehow managed to miss the story, Zayed – the former Bray, Drogheda and Derry City striker who joined Persepolis in December – came on as a substitute in the game against local rivals Esteghlal, with Persepolis down to 10 men. and then he did his thing – in some style, too.
“At the stadium the whole place went mad, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“and then on the bus afterwards all the players were coming up, hugging and kissing me, telling me I didn’t realise what I’d done,” he told this paper on Saturday.
“then, when I got back to the hotel there was a wedding on and the people wanted me to join them as a special guest. an old man offered me $100, he told me how grateful he was and that he wanted to give me a gift.”
Zayed – an Irish Under-21 international who qualifies to play for Libya through his grandparents (he made his debut for them in 2010) – is only contracted to the club until the end of the season, but judging by the reaction to his derby heroics, it’d be a brave man who didn’t keep him on.
Next in his schedule is the Asian Champions League group game against Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia.
It’s a dizzying football journey for the 28-year-old, and he’s unlikely to ever forget last week’s leg of the trip.
Speedy McClean: Makem song and dance for Derry boy
IF Giovanni Trapattoni needs any more persuading James McClean should be included in his next squad, he could do worse than listen to the ultimate scouting report: a tune penned in honour of the Derry winger by Sunderland diehard Dave Murray, aka The Makem Folk Singer. Ready? “He is fast, he is keen, He is speedy James McClean, a bonnie lad we bought from Derry City. He is here, he is there, Defences beware, For he’s red hot on the ball, Man he’s so pretty. with the ball at his feet, He knows no retreat, He’ll turn you up and down and inside out.”
And that was even before he scored Sunderland’s winner against Stoke at the weekend. “The moment I saw his passion and magical footballing skills my song was born,” Murray told the Derry Journal. “After seeing him dazzle some of the biggest clubs in the Premiership with his magic, I knew he would be a massive success at Sunderland AFC – and in world football.”
If Trapattoni is one of the 5,000 people to have viewed Dave singing his song on YouTube (Speedy James McClean), you have to assume he’ll be the first name on his team-sheet from here on in.
Born to wear
THERE can be few lovelier sporting sights than a Brazil shirt, and here’s the brand new one launched last week by Nike. Two fascinating facts: the shirt is made from recycled plastic bottles (honest) and Nascido Para Jogar Futebol (born to play football) is embroidered on the cuffs, making it just as well that the likes of Neymar play for Brazil and not, say, Peter Crouch.
Annoying accident: Derdiyok puts his foot in it
BAYER Leverkusen striker Eren Derdiyok wins our much coveted “understatement of the week” award for his reaction to a little accident at home: “this is obviously very annoying,” he said. The Swiss international knocked over a glass in his bathroom, tried to sweep up the mess, but missed a shard of glass on the floor, stood on it, cut his foot, needed seven stitches in the wound, and is now likely to miss Leverkusen’s Champions League meetings with Barcelona. In the London Metro’s report on this sad tale, they listed a few other unfortunate accidents suffered by sports people. few are more famous than the one involving goalkeeper Dave Beasant who severed a tendon in his foot by dropping a jar of salad cream on it. Mind you, it will always be hard to top the experience of another of the names on the list, former Major League Baseball pitcher Adam Eaton. Back in 2001 he tried to remove the cellophane wrapper from a DVD with a knife and . . . yes. The resulting surgery on his stomach ruled him out for the season.
Obviously very, very annoying
Mangler: Souness on a roll “It’s like a stone rolling down a hill, it’s gathering more and more moss.” – Graeme Souness takes on the old adage, and mangles it. “it was all part of the plan.” – Alex Ferguson explaining why he sold Darron Gibson to Everton . . . so he’d score the winning goal against Manchester City last week. “Everyone who plays against Ghana comes out strongly to stop Asamoah Gyan. “I have been the country’s lone striker for the past six years, it shows how great I am.” – Asamoah Gyan bigging himself up, just a shade. “They were so slow that my boys wanted to sleep on the pitch.” – Zambia’s French coach Herve Renard paying tribute to Sudan after their African Nations Cup meeting. Loveless Lato: Polish fans lose out in ticket stakes
HE might have been a bit of a legend in his playing days for Poland, but as president of the Polish FA (PZPN) Grzegorz Lato (61) isn’t quite feeling the same love – not least since the country’s sports minister announced last November that he would be investigated over allegations of accepting bribes. and Lato hasn’t really won any new friends with the news that out of the 22,800 Euro 2012 tickets allocated to the Polish FA by Uefa, only 8,600 of them will be made available to the public for purchase. The rest will go to PZPN members and sponsors. “Lato has given the tickets as gifts to his friends,” said Polish newspaper Fakt, “it’s no wonder he is always in such high spirits.” “No matter how we divide it up, there will be unhappy voices,” Lato replied. He’s not helping himself, is he? irisihtimes.com/sport