Football round-up

Scotland pull off a fine victory in Paris. England do the business on Russia. Worthington’s rein goes from bad to worse with the curse of the own goal returning. The Republic’s hopes of qualification fade too with defeat in Prague. Wales redeem a bit of pride with a goal-fest.

  • Doctor Who

    Well looks like I won´t be wearing the lederhosen next June.

    Desperately unlucky, but you have to take the chances.

    Worthington got the tactics a bit wrong particularly with bizarre substituions. Two points from these games would not have been a disaster, but two needless own goals have scuppered that.

    Fantastic win for the Scots, I hope they go through.

  • kensei

    Copied from the other thread:

    I don’t actually blame Stan. It was a terribly frustrating display, and simply boils down just a lack of a quality in key areas. When we went to ten men it didn’t seem to make much difference: the Czechs always looked like they had a spare man in defense anyway. There was a lethargy or something about the team that was a bit annoying. We definitely lack a Roy Keane or even a Matt Holland that can talk control of the game in the midfield, and last ball in the final third was woeful. We had two absolutely golden chances that a team set on qualification would have buried too – Kevin Doyle’s at the end of the first and Cech’s spill.

    For all that it wasn’t a terrible performance: the Czechs had the better of it but weren’t that hot, really, and we had a harsh sending off. 0-0 or 1-1 and it’d have been little surprise. Still that would have been no use and the problem was the pressure we put on ourselves by screwing up early on. We need to focus on winning the remaining matches and praying for a decent draw in the WC qualifiers now.

  • RG Cuan

    Not a great night for the two teams from our island and it looks like we’ll have to save our hopes for the next World Cup…

    Super result for our Scottish brothers though РAlba Ab̼!

  • USA

    Okay I’m going to shake this tree again and see if anything falls out.

    A dose of reality for all of you Irish soccer fans. Face facts, the game of soccer in Ireland is a mess.
    First off you have two domestic leagues – stupid. You let English and Scottish teams pick up your best players for next to nothing – stupid. As a consequence the domestic games suffers even more -stupid.
    One professional league – you could save money from eradicating the duplication of effort which the two leagues create. One league would result in better competitions that were better attended by fans. Your home grown players could play for their respective “national” teams (which I would also address but lets dumb things down for now) this would lead to higher profile domestic players again putting butts on seats. These teams could perform better in European competitions thereby raising the profile of the Irish game, bringing in more TV money etc. This would all result in more money for grass roots programmes, league and player development, club development, better stadia etc.
    At the moment the IFA does not even have enough money to fix the roof at Windsor Park – stupid. The FAI is currently engaged in a “strategic review” but no meetings in Derry who play in their league or no meetings planned with the IFA -stupid.
    Here in the US we have had a professional league for maybe 10 years, tops. Already we have more TV revenue, we sell players to Fulham, Rangers, Blackburn etc and we get mega bucks. It is structured so that the league gets the money for development of soccer in the US – money is then distrubuted to the member teams in the league. We have guys like Beckham playing in our league, what have your respective associations achieved in the last 80 years? Really? Soccer is a huge business and your associations as currently constituted are not up to it.
    Until you guys stop ignoring the elephant in the room your club sides will never be able to compete in Europe and your “national” teams will always be handicapped. You don’t even need to look to the US – the GAA has loads of money and great grass roots organisation, the Irish Rugby set up has many good precedents, the list goes on.
    You need to scratch what you are doing and make fundamental change. If Scotland can have a professional league why can’t Ireland? Celtic and Rangers, Portugal has FC Porto and Benfica, Holland has Ajax, Feynord and a few others, Greece has Panathanikos etc. These are not the top European leagues but they compete, that creates revenue, helps the national team and the grass roots game.
    Get on with it – the football fans know you should be doing much better.

  • John East Belfast

    Worthington is clearly useless.

    At Latvia he made very poor decisions – not recognising Brunt’ ability from the start, leaving Craigan off (and again tonight) and then playing a long and high ball game even after it had proven to be ineffective when Lafferty was on the pitch let alone continuing it when he had taken him off.
    When 1 Nil down he should have brought the speedy Sproule on for the end of the game to try and clinch a draw at least.

    The after the game he publicly slates the entire team with no acknowledgement of his own tactical failings.

    Tonight he must be the only NI supporter who doesnt realise Jones is a complete Muppet and cost us the goal.
    As for bringing Grant McCann on when he could have opted for Elliott – the guy he started ahead of Brunt at Latvia ?

    Not to mention once again he could have brought Sproule on and even Lafferty as the team were pushing forward for a second goal.

    The only good thing that will come by the end of this campaign is that Worthington wont have that short term contract renewed.

    ….Then again if we win all our last 3 games we qualify !! ………..

  • The Penguin

    “…Worthington’s rein goes from bad to worse…”

    Not to mention his reign, which isn’t going too well either.

  • USA

    JEB,
    Sproule is certainly fast, I watched him play for Hibs in the Scottish league a few times and he can cause defences plenty of problems. David Healy is on fire, Gillespie and others are good pros who can make valuable contributions. But you can never hope to compete on a global playing field, neither can the Republic.
    Your are tinkering at the edges, blaming the manager and individual players – you need to think outside the “box”, stop ignoring the elephant in the room. Put out an Irish team that can compete in International games and league sides the can compete in Europe. As presently constiuted Irish soccer cannot achieve this “goal”. – Okay no more football puns.

  • John East Belfast

    USA

    An Irish League will never work in the way you think – there isnt the critical mass of support.

    Any good Irish player will quite rightly cross the Irish Sea to play among the best – that is just the way of things.

    The only thing that might work is a British Isles Premiership including Celtic, Rangers and a team from each of Dublin and Belfast.
    The lower divsions would likewise be constituted bringing in Hearts and Hibs and maybe even teams from Derry and Cork.

    An Irish league on its own isnt commercially viable and would not have the impact you are inferring – Ireland is too small to support it – especially when you slice and dice sporting allegiances with GAA and rugby and not to mention the existing support for English and Scottish football already.

    With all due respect you are barking up the wrong tree.

  • USA

    Woof woof,
    I agree that good players could move overg the top European leagues for more money, England being the obvious one to benefit. But if you develop these young guys in their early years and sell them for a decent sum that is an improvement. Especially if you have “sell on” clauses in the contracts for when they transfer later for much inflated amounts. Scottish teams are currently raiding Cork and other FAI teams at will, this is an ongoing Irish soccer problem. The other leagues are benefiting from Irish players and the game in Ireland is benefiting very little in comparison.
    Given the number of people who fly to Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow etc for games, I have no doubt that there is a “critical mass of support” especially if they can see guys like Healy, Gillespie, O’Shea, Givens etc playing in domestic Irish football teams.
    As a suggestion, having started their careers at home, these guys might come back to an Irish professional league toward the end of their careers – bringing a wealth of experience while putting also butts on seats every week, maybe eventually coaching. They will have a first hand knowledge of transfers and contracts as well as invaluable on field knowledge, that can benefit the younger guys.
    “An Irish league on its own isnt commercially viable….Ireland is too small to support it”.
    I respectfully disagree…Scotland etc.

  • John East Belfast

    USA

    If you take the Old Firm out of Scottish football you have a very different picture of attendances and TV Revenues.

    The Rangers – Celtic contest is 100 + years old and is not the kind of football rivalry we could conjure up in Ireland now – Of course Ireland already has the real thing anyway !

    You are also ignoring the pull of GAA.

    It simply wont work – the best players and Managers will go where the money is – English City teams have populations the entire size of NI for instance.

    As I said the only way to revive Irish football and possibly keep some of the talent at home is to try and align it with its bigger brother across the sea in weekly contest.

    This of course would be at the expense of the English clubs at the bottom of the Premiership.

  • USA

    JEB,
    Forgive me for not adressing your “British” league idea as it is a good example of thinking outside the box. While the idea does has some merit it would require the Scots, English and Welsh FA’s etc to play ball. I feel this is unlikely as the English FA won’t even let two very successful franchises like Celtic and Rangers into their top flight league.
    I agree that if these two teams left Scotland then it would be a very different type of league. But that is not to say the Irish league would evolve in a similar manner – although it certainly is possible.

  • USA

    Also, the GAA is going to be there no matter what. Does that mean you don’t even try. Sure rugby is not going to disappear either. Soccer is generally played on different days to GAA, so I think there is room for some guys to attend both events. If your local GAA county sucks this season, then go and cheer for your nearest soccer team that is top of the league. Some people like two or three sports (I just like soccer.)
    Finally, you say English cities have larger populations. This is true but they also have many more teams per city. Manchester for example has, United, City, and plenty of smaller clubs like Rochdale and a few others. Birmingham has City, Villa, Coventry and plenty more smaller clubs. London is the same, they are all overloaded with teams. In the US there are only 32 Football franchises in a very big country. The result is these franchises are money making machines. Done right Irish soccer can be a success… perhaps a 12 team premier league. It would take time to grow and need proper management with a strategic direction. Things that are currently missing in Irish soccer.

  • sammaguire

    An All Ireland league of 8 to 12 fully professional clubs could be a success with the winners of the Irish League and the Eircom League playing off for promotion at the end of each season. A Dublin club and a Belfast club together with Celtic and Rangers in the Premiership would be great but I don’t think the English FA or EUFA would allow it. As a Dublin GAA supporter I have attended 7 games this year with attendances of around 80,000. 95% of these people do have an interest in soccer and would attend more soccer matches if the game was organised in a better manner. Can anyone blame me for preferring to watch Dublin v Kerry in a world class stadium with 82,300 fans than Bohs v Rovers in front of 2,000 or 3,000 in a Mickey Mouse stadium?

  • USA

    Thank you for that sammaguire, I am heartned to learn that I am not alone. I also feel a lot of GAA guys would watch soccer, and the attendance at Croke Park for the Ireland v England game a while back suggests they are prepared to watch rugby also.

  • Charlie

    Look at the current set-up and last night’s results…then try to look at the long term prospects of the 2 Irish ‘national’ teams – it’s tragic…it’s like we’re living up to some grotesque ‘thick paddy’ stereotype…”Ach bejasus we don’t have many players to choose from…I know! Sure wouldn’t be a great idea to have two football associations, sure we can call one of them the Irish Football Association and the other one the Football Association of Ireland so no-one can get them mixed up…and sure won’t it be better to have two teams than one, won’t that mean we’ll have more chance of winning and getting to a major championship begorragh, bejasus etc….”

    Of course, if by some miracle, Norn Iron make it to the Euro championships, I’ll be going buck daft hoping for the occasional David versus Goliath victory but still…Irish football needs to take a big wise-up tablet and have one national team…only the aforementioned offensive thick paddy stereotype (or a staunch Unionist) could think otherwise….

  • willowfield

    Things aren’t going too well for Luxembourg and Belgium, either – perhaps they should have a single team?

    And what about Austria and Hungary? They both have very poor recent records as separate entities. If they joined up they’d almost certainly improve. It’s a no-brainer.

  • ulstermanbancanweman

    Irish football needs to take a big wise-up tablet and have one national team…only the aforementioned offensive thick paddy stereotype (or a staunch Unionist) could think otherwise

    and first to claim the prize is Willowfield. Congratulations!

  • Tochais Síoraí

    And there’s a big demand within Belgium / Luxembourg and austria / Hungary for a united team?

    The things you learn on Slugger, eh?

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Well at least we can all agree on something; that both Ireland teams from this island are shite at soccer, bar a few flourishes now and again.
    Well done to Scotland (who can be shite at times too) and of course England (who can be shite at times too)

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    USA makes very good points. Maybe it’s time reality bit both Irish soccer associations on the arse.

  • gram

    Agree that we need a single Irish team. At the moment, combining both squads, I think we’d still struggle to qualify. The lack of talent is why I think the abuse directed at Staunton is unjustified at the moment.

    Fundamentally we have too small a population to sustain success in international football and to sustain a successful all ireland league. In addition football has to compete with Rugby and Gaelic for young talent.

    In my opinion we should be attempting to establish Belfast and Dublin football teams, based at the new stadiums, that would play in the Scottish league. The scottish leagues need a shake up and we need to try something new.

  • Cromwell

    I’ll take second prize then, there’s no demand among people I know & with whom I watch Northern Ireland home & away for a united football team & I for one won’t be watching it, is that so hard for you people to get?

    Northern Ireland are my team, I’ve watched them all my life, I wont be switching allegiances to a some manufactured team simply because people who dont understand the game or are playing with political agendas, but this is the crux; of course I want Nortern Ireland to do well, but I wont stop supporting them because they dont, its not about success, its about WHERE I’M FROM!!!

  • gram

    >>I’ll take second prize then, there’s no demand among people I know & with whom I watch Northern Ireland home & away for a united football team & I for one won’t be watching it, is that so hard for you people to get?<< You conveniently forget the players in your rather touching but naive view of Irish football. The vast majority of players want the chance to play at a WC or EC. George Best knew this which was why he supported calls for a united team.

  • Pounder

    All in all a most dissapointing night. I know we said that players other than Healy needed to score but we ment in the opponents net for feck sake. As Gerry Armstrong pointed out whats the poitn in beating Spain and Denmark if you lose to Iceland twice and Latvia. Personally I blame Sky Sports. Jackie Fullerton seemed to be a good luck charm for the team and Ian Dowie should never be allowed to appear on TV. Sympathies to the Republic also.

    Fantastic win for Scotland and more power to them. Wales can suck on my balls, once again they boo another nations national anthem. perhaps the fans are simply jealous that the other teams players actually knew their own anthem?

    Not even going to talk about England and the English press will do more than enough talking for everyone.

  • “George Best knew this which was why he supported calls for a united team.”

    If Besty had stayed off the drink he just might have gone to a world cup.

    I’m not even dignifying the united team bullshit with a response.

  • interested

    Can we not impose some ban on immediate talk of some mythical united Ireland team any time Northern Ireland happen to lose?

    Worthington needs his head examined for leaving Craigan out of the squad – he’s been a constant in the defence for the last 20 games. By all means bring back McCartney but dont mess around with a winning formula.

    What does poor Ivan Sproule have to do to get a game? In a must win game on a slippy surface where we had shown that we could cause them problems he could have given a extra push for the last 15 or 20 minutes.

    Leaving aside our away record – a team doesn’t simply turn to dust overnight. Only one thing has changed and that’s the manager, he has to take some blame for what happened. Yes the players didn’t look bothered on Saturday, but the squad selection, tactics, and particularly the substitutions were wrong, there’s nothing the players can do about that.

    Anyway, I’m off to sit back under my blanket and think about what could have been….

  • Suilven

    What Irish international football needs just now isn’t one single team, it’s two new managers.

  • Cromwell

    Well said Beano,

    I, however, will.

    Gram, we can do without the patronisation pal; ” in your rather touching but naive view of irish football”.

    My views are simple because its a simple issue, do you honestly think that all of those people who see themselves as Northern Irish & support the team which represents them, are going to all of a sudden stop & watch somebody else? Now thats naive & touching & shows a distinct lack of understanding of what footballs about.

    George Best was a great footballer, its just a pity at international level we had to struggle so often without him, you could also have mentioned Derek Dougan, but he was just a wind-up merchant.

  • gram

    >>My views are simple because its a simple issue, do you honestly think that all of those people who see themselves as Northern Irish & support the team which represents them, are going to all of a sudden stop & watch somebody else? Now thats naive & touching & shows a distinct lack of understanding of what footballs about.<< Your views are shared by about 5000 or so fans. We are letting the entrenched views of about 5000 fans dictate the future of Irish football. Great idea. Most business's attempt to increase their appeal. Next time you're at Windsor or at an Irish league ground have a good look around you. Then tell me there's nothing wrong with how football is run in "OWC".

  • Cromwell

    5000 fans Gram?

    Apart from the 15’000 who attend Windsor & the part of the population emotionally attatched to our country by birth.

    Your argument is without credit & as far as I’m concerned finished, goodbye.

  • darth rumsfeld

    back from Iceland full of Gull beer @£5 a pint (“special price for you Irish” of course) and puffin burgers. GAWA scouts find the only erotic dancing club on the island within half an hour or arriving and set up base in adjoining bar.
    Very disappointing result after a second half with some of the old spirit- you feel in spite of Worthington- and the obligatory soft goals. Approx 1200 GAWA in fine voice in a stadium eerily reminiscent of Ballymena showgrounds.
    A general feeling that we’re going to watching the finals on tv and we need a proper manager- noone could understand the substitutions

  • Charlie

    I strongly object to the implication that if you believe that an All-Ireland team is the best way forward for football on this island that you’re somehow ‘disloyal’ to the existing N. Ireland team…Big Norman Whiteside is another advocate of both Irish sides joining forces by the way…dare ye to tell him he’s not a true Norn Iron supporter…he’d knock yer ballix in mate!

    But aye, it’s unlikely to happen thanks to senior members of both associations wanting to cling to their power and petty privileges…plus of course the staunch “NEVER!!!” merchants who have expressed their opinions above…ho hum…no World Cup or European Championship fun for us in the foreseeable future while the English and the Jocks can look forward to a big party next summer…

  • Token Dissent

    Gutted by last night’s result. They outplayed Iceland for large parts of the game, and were unlucky, but I am afraid as John and others have stated Worthy got things badly wrong.

    The defence was a mess: dropping Craigan even preferring Duff at centre-half, playing Evans at right back and Baird in the middle.

    He appears to have used Lafferty as a scapegoat for Saturday, by not even using him as a sub. Did he really think that Grant McCann or Steve bloody Jones were capable of winning the game? It was blindingly obvious that Lafferty and Sproule should have been given at least 20 minutes.

    On top of these selections his tactical inflexibility was unbelievable. In both games no real attempt was made to chase the game in the last twenty minutes. No third striker brought on. No change to three at the back. He stuck to a conservative 4-4-2, often playing long balls to two wee men upfront, who had no midfielders within thirty yards of them.

    And what has happened to Steve Davis? He has been awful in the last 3 games, looking completely out of sorts.

    Searching for positives: Sammy Clingan has been outstanding, Brunt has improved, McCartney is an international class full-back, and Healy showed superb spirit in the second half. On second thoughts…we can beat Sweden and Spain away!

  • gram

    >>Apart from the 15’000 who attend Windsor & the part of the population emotionally attatched to our country by birth.

    Your argument is without credit & as far as I’m concerned finished, goodbye.<< Next time you are at windsor with the 15000 don't forget to shout "where were you when we were shit". The vast majority of the population of "owc" would be delighted to see a single team provided everyones cultures were respected. If the argument is without merit why is it continually raised and why have the Rugby and Cricket teams not failed?

  • Joseph O’Connor&Gerard Devlin

    Last night was positive,without question.Scottish players have been simply outstanding(I watched the match on Eurosport)against one of the strongest squads on earth, making a prominent step ahead,and I’ve been hoping they qualify since September 2006.Unfortunately,The Republic and the North failed to win,but they can still qualify,too.As far as I’m regarded the best solution for them would be one only national team,representing both Northern Ireland and Eire,like the rugby team.

  • willowfield

    If the argument is without merit why is it continually raised and why have the Rugby and Cricket teams not failed?

    If the football teams have “failed”, then so, too, on most occasions have the rugby and cricket teams. In a sport played seriously by only a dozen or so countries, the Ireland rugby team has never progressed beyond the World Cup quarter-finals and has rarerly even won the Four/Five/Six Nations. The Ireland cricket team doesn’t even have Test status.

    In contrast, in a truly global sport, competing against scores of top quality teams from all over the world, the football teams have both reached World Cup quarter-finals.

  • gram

    Willowfield, by failure I was referring to both on the field and off the field activities.

    Irish rugby is thriving at the moment. Building a new stadium. Full houses at Ravenhill for Ulster games. Contrast that to the basket case that is irish soccer.

    I wonder why that is? Could it be that they maximise the use of their resources and minimise waste casued by duplication of effort.

    >>In contrast, in a truly global sport, competing against scores of top quality teams from all over the world, the football teams have both reached World Cup quarter-finals.<< Good one. 1958 was it?

  • DM

    2002 actually Gram.

  • Pounder

    gram you say that [i] “The vast majority of the population of “owc” would be delighted to see a single team”[/i]. I presume you have research and numbers to back this up? If you don’t you’re really wasting Mick’s bandwidth talking out of your pooper and making baseless claims.

  • DM

    Oops, I just re-read that, ROI got to the last 16, not the quarters, in 2002, but the point remains – success for North and South has been a lot more recent than you suggest.

  • gram

    >>gram you say that “The vast majority of the population of “owc” would be delighted to see a single team”. I presume you have research and numbers to back this up? If you don’t you’re really wasting Mick’s bandwidth talking out of your pooper and making baseless claims.<< Do most posters on Slugger do research before posting? To answer your question. If you take the Nationalist population, add a few middle of the road unionists and a few new Polish residents I reckon I've got a sizeable majority in favour of a single team. Do you still reckon my claims are baseless? You'd think I was the first to suggest such a thing.

  • gram

    >>Oops, I just re-read that, ROI got to the last 16, not the quarters, in 2002, but the point remains – success for North and South has been a lot more recent than you suggest.<< DM. With the break up of Eastern Europe and the rise of the African and Asian teams N.Ireland will never reach a WC 1/4 final again. I doubt they'll even qualify for one. The last time they reached the 1/4s was in 1958.

  • DM

    Gram:

    your initial point was that an all-island team would make sense as the current two team set-up has not brought a great deal of success for either team. I was simply trying to illustrate that, in fact, there have been recent successes for football teams on this island, for the ROI in particular and for NI as well, albeit on a much more irregular basis.

    As regards the NI team and your predictions for the future, well – as a football fan I’ll take my chances and keep hoping!

  • alan

    Who was fighting on the plane home from Iceland?

  • Puzzled

    Not much chance of any unity between teams if even the players on one team are fighting amongst themselves.

    Messrs McCartney and Gillespie.

  • USA

    Willowfield,
    Your whole Luxemburg / Austria contribution is disingenuous – go to Dr Charlie for a “wise up tablet”.
    Gram,
    Belfast and Dublin teams in a Scottish / Celtic league is an very interesting idea for it provides options for professional teams in Ireland which is vital for the sustainable development of the game. I also agree that the players (both domestic and international) would like to be participating in the top tournaments.
    Cromwell,
    I have no doubt that a significant number of “NI” fans would watch a single team representing Ireland and they would also watch professional domestic teams. Same goes for GAA fans watching soccer, rugby fans, golf fans etc. Success breeds success, winning Irish teams draw interest from the Media, fans, politicians etc. If a small group diehards refuse to even discuss a paradigm shift in Irish soccer then let them live in past, while the vast majority of Irish SOCCER fans on the island support and follow successful teams from Ireland.
    Interested,
    To ban the discussion is ignoring the elephant in the room by burying you head in the sand – not to mention cencorship of thoughts and ideas. I have no political agenda – It is about SOCCER in Ireland, not bashing “NI” when they have a bad result. The ROI suck too. You think people are out to get you when in fact we are soccer fans pointing out the obvious to you.
    Willowfield,
    You say the “Irish” rugby and cricket teams have failed. But the comparison falls apart when you look at the number of people who play / watch soccer when compared to Irish cricket. While I agree with Gram that rugby is doing better (strategic planning) it also suffers from a smaller pool of talent. However, I think soccer has much wider appeal across the island and would fare much better.

  • gram

    >>Can we not impose some ban on immediate talk of some mythical united Ireland team any time Northern Ireland happen to lose?<< Fair enough but my posts are not in response to the N.Ireland team losing but the ineptitude of both national teams. Both teams are crap at the moment. IMO this will continue while the current structures remain. World football has changed in recent years with the influx of foreign players into the premiership (less opportunity for Irish players) and the growth in competition from Africa and Asia. Football in Ireland has got to respond to these challenges if it is to remain competitive.

  • Doctor Who

    gram

    It is clear from your posts that you are neither a football fan or a well informed individual.

    For me I have no option I support Northern Ireland. As I currently don´t live in NI every match is an away game, as a result of this I incur a hell of alot of expense travelling to most games, in Belfast or further a field.

    I realised at an early age that on occasions we would be great but most of the time I was going to be disapointed. Hey that´s football.

    Your point seems to be if we can´t be world beaters whats the point.

    I´m sorry pal but what´s the point of anyone other than Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina, Netherlands, Germany and maybe England competing in internationals, as they are the only nations capable of winning something on the world stage.

    Why stop there, do away with all club teams in England apart from the top six in the Premiership. You see being a football I take the rough with the smooth, I have more respect for the fan who follows Doncaster Rovers than for the fan who follows Chelsea, simply because I empathise with his plight.

    Supporting Northern Ireland has given me wonderful nights but most of the time I have left dejected miserable and downbeat, but again that´s football. We have acheived fantastic results that as one of the smallest nations in Europe we had no right to acheive, quarter finals of two World Cups – 1958 and 1982 as well as qualification for 1986. For qualification for the 1984 European Championships NI beat Germany home and away and alas still failed to qualify. Ironically under the current rules they would have qualified as group winners, and remember there was only seven teams who qualified in those days along with the host nation.

    Take a look at the faces of the Icelandic players and coaches last night and see what it meant to to them to beat NI, thats football.

    There is many advocates of a one island team, and contary to what you say it hasn´t led to world success and it is indeed not without it´s controvery either. You seem to forget that the IRFU deemed the recent Ireland v Italy match at Ravenhill an away match.

    Supporting Northern Ireland = Happiness in small doses, and isn´t that reflective of life.

  • bingo

    Quarter finals in 1990 v italy

  • Pounder

    [i]>>gram you say that “The vast majority of the population of “owc” would be delighted to see a single team”. I presume you have research and numbers to back this up? If you don’t you’re really wasting Mick’s bandwidth talking out of your pooper and making baseless claims.<< Do most posters on Slugger do research before posting? To answer your question. If you take the Nationalist population, add a few middle of the road unionists and a few new Polish residents I reckon I’ve got a sizeable majority in favour of a single team. Do you still reckon my claims are baseless? You’d think I was the first to suggest such a thing. [/i] As a matter of fact I have actually asked quite a few posters here for evidence to back up their claims, thats what you do in a debate. You make massive assumptions that the Nationalist and Polish people in the population would automatically go with your way of thinking, THAT makes your claims baseless because you try and make your assumptions sound like fact. I do a lot of online debating and in most sites the number one rule is if you're going to make a claim back your shit up with hard linkable evidence or STFU.

  • willowfield

    People going on about the “ineptitude” of the Irish football teams appear to have unrealistic expectations. Neither NI nor ROI, nor an all-Ireland team, is ever going to compete with the top countries on a regular basis. The countries/country is simply too small and football isn’t even the main sport in large swathes of Ireland.

    Just because the Irish rugby team occasionally does well in a competition involving only five other opponents doesn’t mean that the football teams should therefore always expect to be among the best in the whole of Europe, or the world.

    An all-Ireland team might theoretically be marginally better, but that is not enough for supporters of the NI team who derive so much pleasure from their football experiences, to choose to sacrifice their team for a (theoretically) all-Ireland team which would inevitably be dominated by Southerners like the rugby team.

    GRAM

    DM. With the break up of Eastern Europe and the rise of the African and Asian teams N.Ireland will never reach a WC 1/4 final again. I doubt they’ll even qualify for one. The last time they reached the 1/4s was in 1958.

    They reached the last 12 (effectively the quarters) in 1982 and last 24 in 1986 as well as the quarters in 1958. ROI reached last 16 in 2002 and 1994, and the quarters in 1990. ROI also reached the European finals in 1988 and missed out on qualification for 1996 in a play-off. NI missed out on qualifying for 1984 on goal difference from West Germany.

    What has the Ireland rugby team ever done? Ten home/five/six nations wins in 108 attempts, and none since 1985 (and only three since 1951). One World Cup quarter-final ever – and that’s in a sport where hardly any countries even play it, and only about ten or a dozen can be considered as serious teams. In football, Irish teams literally compete against the world – not just former “White dominions”, France and a few other curious places.

    USA

    Your whole Luxemburg / Austria contribution is disingenuous

    I disagree. You and others argue that two relatively unsuccessful teams could improve by joining together. If this would supposedly reap rewards for NI and ROI, then surely also Belgium and Luxembourg, and Austria and Hungary.

    As for your “big idea”, an all-Ireland league would, no doubt, result in increased attendances and media coverage, but it would never take away from the English premiership, nor stop the best players from moving to play there, nor create Champions [sic]-League-competing club teams. An all-Ireland league might just about be able to support a handful of full-time professional clubs, but on a par with Barnsley and Falkirk if we were lucky, not competing with the English Premiership or even Championship. It would be a slight improvement on the two existing leagues and not much more than that. There simply isn’t the critical mass of supporters – the South never had a great tradition of football support and in NI it collapsed with the Troubles.

    You say the “Irish” rugby and cricket teams have failed. But the comparison falls apart when you look at the number of people who play / watch soccer when compared to Irish cricket. While I agree with Gram that rugby is doing better (strategic planning) it also suffers from a smaller pool of talent. However, I think soccer has much wider appeal across the island and would fare much better.

    It wasn’t me who brought in the comparison with cricket. Regarding rugby and football, while there are more people playing football than rugby in Ireland, that is also the case in the most of the countries it plays against. In any case, rugby competes in a small pool (only a dozen or so competitors) whereas in football the competition is against the whole of Europe (and world). It should be easier, therefore, for Ireland to achieve success in rugby than in football, but that has not been the case.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Maybe the NI squad can take up boxing as their interest in the competition ends? They seem to have been putting in the practice along with their fans ;0)

  • gram

    >>Doctor Who:There is many advocates of a one island team, and contary to what you say it hasn´t led to world success and it is indeed not without it´s controvery either.< < Edied by the moderator - Play the Ball not the man >>Your point seems to be if we can´t be world beaters whats the point.<< That's not my point. My point is if we are never going to qualify for the WC or EC then what's the point. But hey if you are content to stand with your other 5000 die hards, watching a drubbing by Iceland, as the rain leaks through the roof at windsor just so you can wear some badge of honour, fair play to you.

  • gram

    >>I do a lot of online debating and in most sites the number one rule is if you’re going to make a claim back your shit up with hard linkable evidence or STFU.<< Pounder I love your colourful debating style. Was this skill honed during all that on-line debating you mention? Can you provide a link to the rule you describe above?

  • Pounder

    2-1 Drubbing? Again you display ignorance and make arrogant assumptions, drubbing is a term used when the team gets beat by a large margin and display a poor performance.

  • Hill16FantasticView

    Hey all,
    Just wondering what an imaginary present day all ireland 11 would look like? I could see Doyle/Healy making a great partnership up front.

    On the matches, tough results for both teams last night. I do think Worthington should see out the present campaign before any decision is made regarding his future. Regarding Stan, it’s been glaringly obvious since the start he isn’t up to the job, My only worry is who would want to take over the ROI job now.

  • gram

    >>They reached the last 12 (effectively the quarters) << Ha ha. Good one.

  • Pounder

    http://server.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic_raw.php?t=70641

    The first board I joined and despite being initially a Star Wars board there are indeed some heavy political, social and religious debates.

    As for my use of language, just because I’m occasionally vulgar doesn’t mean you can completely ignore my point. on SDN polite is saying [i]please[/i] fuck off and die. I actually reign myself in for Slugger

  • gram

    >>Pounder: 2-1 Drubbing? Again you display ignorance and make arrogant assumptions, drubbing is a term used when the team gets beat by a large margin and display a poor performance.<< Now, now, what was the score when "OWC" played Iceland at Windsor? I'd call that a drubbing. Can someone who knows something about footy please join this debate?

  • gram

    >>The first board I joined and despite being initially a Star Wars board there are indeed some heavy political, social and religious debates.<< Please stop. I think I'm gonna piss myself with laughter here.

  • Pounder

    Feel free to read the News and Politics part of the board or the Science Logic and Morality forum before you make a judgement, or is it beyond you to look at anything with an open mind.

  • USA

    If you guys think the Irish internaltional record is so great – qualifying for tournaments in 1958, 1982, 2002 – then perhaps a single team can make the semi finals or final in 2010 or 2014.
    I certainly concede that a single Irish league would need to be nurtured before it can grow. But in the US example domestic players are already playing in the National team. This brings the families to games, generates revenue, the game is even on US TV now – something that would have been unthinkable only 10 years ago.
    With regard to “drubbing” – while 2-1 is not a drubbing, defeats by Latvia, Iceland, Slovenia etc is just pathetic and the wider public will not show an interest. It’s not about a few die hard fans – I don’t like golf but I know a lot more people watched the tournament when Padraig Harrington won recently – success puts bums on seats and generates revenue – this money can be used to develop the game and the younger players. Oh but I forgot, the IFA and the FAI already have soccer shools of excellence and other programs throughout the island due to their well funded strategic vision.
    Forget the 5,000 perennial losers and get your act together.

  • USA

    Hill16,
    Doyle and Healy could indeed be a great partnership – I for one would definately pay to see how that one worked out.

  • Doctor Who

    gram

    “It is clear from your post that English wasn’t your strongest subject at school. ”

    Edited by moderator – Play the BALL not the man

  • Fraggle

    Just popped onto the thread to see what’s up with the fight between McCartney and Gillespie and I find Doctor Who at it again.

    *makes a card gesture at the ref*

  • Doctor Who

    gram

    >>They reached the last 12 (effectively the quarters) << "Ha ha. Good one." As you have shown yourself to be completely ignorant about football let me explain. In 1982 instead of one group stage, FIFA introduced a second group stage. The second group stage consisted of 12 teams in four groups of 3. Northern Ireland qualified from their first group as group winners courtesy of beating host nations Spain, joining them in their second group where France and Austria. In the final match in the second phase Northern Ireland played France for a palce in the semi finals, thus that particular game against the French was effectively a quarter final. Which part of that do you fail to understand. You have said that you are not NI bashing yet you take joy in the defeats by Iceland and Latvia (qualifiers for last Euro finals). You label NI fans as "a band of 5000 staunch Unionist die-hards". What crap. You say whats the point if neither Ni or ROI can qualify for the WC or Euro finals. The whole point of participation is to try your best and try again. I take it that you think that Iceland should not enter competitive tournaments and of course not forgetting most of the world´s football nations who will never qualify for a world cup finals. Step back from the keyboard gram and wise up.

  • Doctor Who

    Fraggle

    Come on to gloat when you really have nothing to gloat about.

    You may like to know that in football a player who makes a card gesture to the ref is also putting himself at the risk of being carded. In fact the players who do this are usually the worst kind.

  • USA

    Dr.Who,
    There really is no need to be so abusive with your language.
    It seems you support your arguement with the fact that the “NI” team got beat by the French while still in the group stages of a tournament over 25 years ago.
    “Which part of that do you fail to understand”
    If you insist on making my points for me is will happily rest my case.

  • John East Belfast

    USA

    It is a bit rich you on here lecturing the need for 6 million Irish to get their soccer act together when either team would beat the 200m + USA.

    Should you not concentrate on your own back yard ?

  • Doctor Who

    usa

    My comments where not lablled at you, it is however evident that you have been in the USA too long. The arrogance and naivity have certainly rubbed off on you.

    How if NI qualified for a tournament twenty years ago, does it mean thay will never qualify again.

    My expalnation of the structure of the 1982 World Cup Fianls has nothing to do with your weak, crass and down right boring argument that a one island league and a one island team would bring some sort of footballing utopia.

    For what it´s worth I do think the top ten teams in the whole of Ireland should break away, albeit with firm backing and good infrastructure, in order to set up a premier league. This will slightly improve the standard of football on the island, it will never stop the flow of players to the bigger clubs in England who most football fans North and South follow more closely than irish club sides.

    You try to us the US league as an example, which is ridiculous. The US have staged a WC finals, have the wealthiest men in the world investing in the sport and are throwing silly money at has beens with a name.

    Now forgive me if I sound defeatist but I don´t expect David Beckham will ever turn out for Glenavon versus Sligo Rovers.

  • Jackie Fuller Tan

    Given Post 14 on this page (amongst others), it is surely time to show a Red Card to Dr. Who, Moderator. Others on this thread have already received Red Cards for significantly less.

  • Doctor Who

    jackie fuller tan

    I direct you to post 17 for my response.

  • em>But hey if you are content to stand with your other 5000 die hards, watching a drubbing by Iceland, as the rain leaks through the roof at windsor just so you can wear some badge of honour, fair play to you.

    Gram and USA don’t really get this “soccer” thingy do they?

    Winning is nice but not the be all and end all of watching a particular “soccer” team; thousands of people every week follow hopeless cases like Carlisle, Swansea and whatever their Scottish equivalents are.

    Why do you think they still do that, do you reckon ? They’re never going to win the Champions League and trust me, I’ve been there, the weather at Brunton park (that’s Carlisle’s ground for your info, gram and USA) is rarely tropical.

    It may be in USA sport that there is no translation of the words “passion” and “sense of involvement”, but here in europe these are the things which, in most cases, determine from your childhood you decide to support.

    I don’t suppose you’ll get it.

  • gram

    >>You say whats the point if neither Ni or ROI can qualify for the WC or Euro finals. The whole point of participation is to try your best and try again. < < That's my point. By maintaining separate teams we are not trying our best. We are not making best use of our collective resources. >>In the final match in the second phase Northern Ireland played France for a palce in the semi finals, thus that particular game against the French was effectively a quarter final.<< Still seraching for a link to the Spain 1982 quarter finals. Maybe you can help? Looks like we need to add a maths lesson to the English one.

  • fair_deal

    Play the ball not the man folks.

  • gram

    John East Belfast maybe you should restrict your comments to a subject you know something about.

    Here’s a link to the current world rankings.

    http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/ranking/lastranking/gender=m/fullranking.html

  • I see according to the latest rankings posted above, England are reckoned to be the 12th best in the world.
    I’d dispute that.

  • Doctor Who

    There is no collective resources.

    There is two seperate teams with two sets of supporters. Your only motivation is to see an end to a Northern Ireland team. You have shown this on this thread by the comments you have made which clearly show your contempt for real football fans.

  • gram

    oneill: Gram and USA don’t really get this “soccer” thingy do they?

    Winning is nice but not the be all and end all of watching a particular “soccer” team; thousands of people every week follow hopeless cases like Carlisle, Swansea and whatever their Scottish equivalents are.<< O'neill as I'm sure you are aware more people support Man U than Hull city. Why do you think this is? They are both big cities. Could it be something to do with success? Now if it is the policy or objective of the IFA to restrict the appeal of football in N.I. then I'd say they are doing a good job. If however they wish to encourage participation and supporter numbers then I'm afraid they have failed big time.

  • gram

    >>Your only motivation is to see an end to a Northern Ireland team. You have shown this on this thread by the comments you have made which clearly show your contempt for real football fans.<< Wrong. My motivation is to see the end of both the N.Ireland and Republic of Ireland teams.

  • O’neill as I’m sure you are aware more people support Man U than Hull city. Why do you think this is? They are both big cities. Could it be something to do with success?

    But you surely don’t dispute the right of Hull people to support whichever team they want?

    Following your logic, should the rest of the premiership should just pack up and let FC Glazer and the Rent Boys play off annually for the top spot?

    It’s all part of the romance of the football that the little guys like NI get to play with the big guys like England and Spain and occasionally give them a good kick up the arse. I’m really surprised you didn’t get my point previously on that.

    If however they wish to encourage participation and supporter numbers then I’m afraid they have failed big time

    A “United Ireland” team would not increase either participation or supporter numbers.
    If you want to play football now anywhere on the island, no one is stopping you. And as our Northern-based Republic fans never cease to tell us on here, they already support the “32 County Ireland” team. I doubt many of the GAWA would switch over to such a team, so I really can’t see where this increased support you speak of would come from

  • gram

    >>It’s all part of the romance of the football that the little guys like NI get to play with the big guys like England and Spain and occasionally give them a good kick up the arse. I’m really surprised you didn’t get my point previously on that.< < Ah the old "romance" cliche. I'm afraid the "romance" you speak of is becoming less and less. You might get the odd win over Spain and England but I'm afraid qualification for major tournaments will become more elusive. We can already see this happening in the FA cup were the the number of giant killings is less every year. The same will happen in International football. Money follows success. >>A “United Ireland” team would not increase either participation or supporter numbers.<< Maybe not but a more successful national team will increase participation. We have a better chance of success combined rather than apart. Pooling resources and funding a single governing body would free up money for coaching and a centre of excellence. Can attendances for Irish league games get any lower? You support the continuation of an organisation that can't survive without handouts and can't put a roof over it's head. Surely you can't think the current set up is a success?

  • Doctor Who

    gram

    “We can already see this happening in the FA cup were the the number of giant killings is less every year.”

    So you are calling for an end to the FA Cup.

    Time for bed gram.

  • USA

    Sorry boys and girls but the time difference means I cannot respond to you in a timely fashion. But here goes anyway:
    I accept that there is a need for “romance” and I, along with the the vast majority of American sports fans, fully understand the nature of “passion” etc for fans and participant is competitive sports. So don’t be so condecending, you are only hurting your own arguement.
    I’m not saying sport is all about winning, my point is that you guys are so badly organized you can’t even qualify for the major international tournaments where you could be the underdogs who have a chance to beat Brazil, Italy etc in the group stages. Your teams don’t qualify for the Champions League so they can be the underdogs against Man Utd or AC Milan in the group stages. You can’t even qualify – that should be a big concern to soccer fans in Ireland. Especially when teams like Gothenburg, Rosenburg etc can qualify and bring in millions for their Associations in TV revenue.
    I do get the whole “soccer thing” and I respectfully submit that I have a lot more experience that some of the posters on this blog.
    Dr. Who,
    In post number 20 you said I was arrogant, naive, crass and boring. Then in the next breath you state:
    “I do think the top ten teams in the whole of Ireland should break away, albeit with firm backing and good infrastructure, in order to set up a premier league”. But that is what I have been saying – or at least it is part of the discussion I feel Irish SOCCER FANS should be having. You insult me then agree with me – strange.
    JEB,
    I have no doubt that the USA team could defeat either of your current Irish sides – if I could work out how to do hyperlinks I would include some supporting evidence.
    The most interesting idea – and perhaps the most viable I have heard so far – is the Irish teams joining with the Scots in some sort of Celtic League. At least the kids in Ireland would potentially see some benefit from the money generated, and not just the big rich clubs in England.
    And here is were I let myself down – what does GAWA stand for?
    Good night.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    USA

    Green And White Army

    The team colours?

    Sheesh! 😉

  • USA

    Thanks Esmeralda.

  • abucs

    Well, it would be great to have one team like the rugby but i’ll have to respect the fact that there is support for a Northern Irish team and leave it at that. At least it creates two team to cheer for.

    Certainly i’d like to think that with the right attitude and management the Republic should compete with anyone.

    OK, they are the underdogs but Charlton’s era and Kerr’s time with the youth teams show it can be done. It’s a shame that youth success hasn’t translated to the seniors.

    This i think is the biggest failure of the present administration. It’s not often you are going to be youth champions of Europe.

    When it happens, it’s a chance to progress not regress IMHO.

  • You support the continuation of an organisation that can’t survive without handouts and can’t put a roof over it’s head. Surely you can’t think the current set up is a success?

    Gram
    No argument from me there he IFA are a joke.
    But you still don’t get my main point.

    If I wanted to follow a successful international team, then I’d buy myself a Brazil shirt and start learning Portuguese. People support their teams nationally and clubwise for a number of reasons. For the vast majority there is very little chance ever of any success ,but it really doesn’t matter; they support their team because.. exactly that it’s their team.

    Leaky roofs, dodgy adminstrators, crap managers and more than the odd defeat are not nice, but it’s a helluva lot better than not having a team that we can identify with, a team that was passed onto us by our fathers and one that we will hopefully pass on to our own sons and daughters.

  • Mike

    USA –

    “Forget the 5,000 perennial losers and get your act together.”

    So because I’ve been supporting Northern Ireland and going to see my country play since I was a boy back in 1989, I’m a “perennial loser”?

    You, sir, appear to be a deeply unpleasant individual.

  • Doctor Who

    USA

    “But that is what I have been saying – or at least it is part of the discussion I feel Irish SOCCER FANS should be having. You insult me then agree with me – strange.2”

    No I said for what it´s worth I think an all Ireland league would be a way forward, it would not however improve standards dramatically and create an irish football utopia which you imply.

    The fact that you continually insult Northern Ireland football fans “perennial losers”, and take offence when the serve is returned, says it all really.

  • USA

    Mike,
    I said the 5,000 or so naysayers who support NI should be left behind and let the majority of Irish SOCCER FANS get on with building the infrastructure that would benefit soccer on the island.
    I’m sure there are many wonderful NI supporters and I by no means meant to imply that they were all losers – NI gets more than 5,000 at a game. My remarks were also directed at the FAI not just the IFA.
    Dr. Who,
    Given the way you have spoken to others on this thread i’m sure you are not a NI fan with whom I would chose to spend any time, as it would be rather off putting drinking with a guy who has his head up his ass most of the evening.

  • Mike

    USA –

    In my estimation upwards of 99% of the NI fans who go to matches, plus the thousands who can’t get hold of tickets, do not want to have their team abolished and want to continue supporting Northern Ireland.

  • USA

    Mike,
    I feel that a majority of “NI” fans (not the 5,000 losers) would be comfortable with one international team if it was properly and fairly constituted with equal input from both associations. The vast majority of soccer fans on the island would feel the same. However I might be wrong. So on this point we will have to agree to disagree.

  • Mike

    USA –

    “I feel that a majority of “NI” fans (not the 5,000 losers) would be comfortable with one international team if it was properly and fairly constituted with equal input from both associations.”

    You are completely and utterly wrong. Pick out 100 NI fans at random and you’d be ‘lucky’ to find one who favoured scrapping the Northern Ireland team and having an All-Ireland team (or a combined UK team).

    I would know. I’ve been going to NI matches since 1989. I’ve known plenty of Northern Ireland supporters in my time. I’m a block booker for home games. I’ve followed my team to Dublin, Athens, Cardiff, Manchester, Warsaw, Vienna and am just back from Riga and Reykjavik. I’ve co-edited a Northern Ireland fanzine and contributed to another. I’m a co-founder and member of a Northern Ireland supporters’ club.

    Your whole argument is based on a complete fantasy.

    And before you put me down as some sort of political hardliner – I’m actually a middle class type from North Down, who’s never for example voted DUP and I completed my education at a leading English university. I’ve got friends from across the ‘divide’. I’m not into rugby (despite, or perhaps because of, having played it for a couple of years at school) but both my father and younger brother are – both of them passionately support the Ireland rugby team (albeit in the latter’s case with a dose of annoyance at the Ravenhill anthems/flags fiasco recently), both also passinately support the Northern Ireland rugby team and would be vehemently opposed to any sort of ‘merger’.

    You need to get your head round that.

  • rubin

    ‘both also passinately support the Northern Ireland rugby team and would be vehemently opposed to any sort of ‘merger’.’

    mike its probably difficult for usa to get his head round it because there is no ‘Northern Ireland rugby team’

  • Mike

    OK, I mistakenly typed “rugby” there instead of “football”, which is what I meant. Understand?

  • gram

    >>You are completely and utterly wrong. Pick out 100 NI fans at random and you’d be ‘lucky’ to find one who favoured scrapping the Northern Ireland team and having an All-Ireland team (or a combined UK team).<< You fail to consider the rest of the football fans here in Northern Ireland who don't go to OWC games. They are also tax payers whose money is going to prop up the bankrupt IFA organisation. Should they not be allowed a say in how the game is run here?

  • Mike

    ‘USA’ talked about Northern Ireland supporters. I’ve also talked about Northern Ireland supporters, both those who attend matches and the thousands who can’t get tickets – unlike what he thinks they are just as opposed to an all-Ireland team as his mythical ‘5000’.

  • Doctor Who

    USA

    “Given the way you have spoken to others on this thread i’m sure you are not a NI fan with whom I would chose to spend any time, as it would be rather off putting drinking with a guy who has his head up his ass most of the evening.”

    Hmm very intersting, rather ironic that you use vulgarity to criticise the way I have replied to comments from others.

    While my head might be up my ass, judging by your rather naive and ill informed comments (concerning NI fans wanting a unified all island team) you are talking out of yours.

    While were at combining resources why don´t you tell the Welsh to team up with the English, Wales last qualified for a tournament in 1958. See what reaction you get and if they soundly and rightly tell you where to go, you can always remind them that they buddy up together successfully at Cricket.