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Behind the Scenes with Con

Updated: Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010 10:46

Behind the Scenes with Con

Taburete is the translation of Barstool in Spanish (according to my internet free translation service).

I’m not 100% sure what the translation of barstooler is, my internet free translation service helpfully suggested ‘barstooler’ when I entered that one, but whatever the term in Spanish is, barstoolerism is alive and well in Espana.

I saw it at first hand in Tenerife recently, when Real Madrid first played Osasuna and then met Ajax in the Champions League. I watched both of those games in local bars surrounded by Real Madrid jersey wearing Tenerifenos. How they cheered when Ricardo Carvalho scored the only goal of the game for Los Galacticos against an average Osasuna side. Another three points for ‘their’ Madrid team. That delight was followed by another three points for ‘their’ Real Madrid team against Ajax in the Champions league.

As I watched this my heart sank somewhat again, as I pictured their Irish brothers and sisters, in Manchester United jerseys in bars around Ireland cheering on ‘their’ Red devils against Rangers in the Champions League.

I wondered who these Real Madrid supporters from Tenerife cheered for last season when Tenerife played with the big boys in La Liga. It must be a strange position for them to be in when Madrid roll into town. It’s not something they have to worry about for a while I’d imagine, as Tenerife were relegated last season and have already sacked their manager this season after just four games. Pointless, and bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat at home to Celta Vigo last weekend.

So as Tenerife fight for survival in the second tier of Spanish football in front of dwindling crowds, I wonder does the irony of the situation cross the minds of the Real Madrid fans born in Santa Cruz, Playa de Las Americas and Puerto de la Cruz. As they cheer for the team managed by the Special One, the team that represents the island they come from is going down the tubes. Sad, very sad.

While I was away last week I read Daire Whelan’s ‘Who Stole our Game’ again, and I’m sure many readers of this blog will probably have read it already, but if you haven’t I’d recommend that you do because it gives a great insight into what happened to the league of Ireland from it’s heyday in the 50’s and 60’s to more recent times, and looks at why the crowds dwindled rapidly from those halcyon days.

The book is a couple of years old at this stage, and as such, the latest phenomena like Shamrock Rovers’ move to Tallaght and the sale or otherwise of Dalymount Park don’t feature.

One point I found striking about the book was the theory that for League of Ireland clubs to prosper they would have to embed themselves into the local community in much the same way as the local GAA clubs have done down through the years.

This is something that the likes of Derry City, Shamrock Rovers, Cork City and Sligo Rovers have managed to do. Perhaps there are others as well, such as Dundalk and St.Pat’s – but it’s very much a long term project.

The extra exposure on TV should help in the coming years. I know some, like Pete Mahon, were upset by the early kick off on Saturday for the cup quarter final against Sporting Fingal to suit the needs of RTÉ TV, and while the early kick off might not have helped, it seems to me that RTÉ are a handy target for Pete's disappointment at the size of the crowd, but maybe the club should look in the mirror as well and ask why they couldn't attract more than 800 fans for a cup quarter final.

Roddy answered Pete's criticism of him on this week’s programme and the general consensus seems to be that Pete should be more worried about what St. Pat's are doing than worrying about what people in the MNS studio or in the newspapers might have to say about his team.

One thing that's worth mentioning after this week’s programme was the number and sheer quality of goals scored. This was the 99th edition of MNS since its inception, and I can't remember as many good goals in one programme from the previous 98 shows. This month’s goal of the month competition will be spectacularly good.

Speaking of spectacularly good. The draw for the semi finals of the FAI Ford Cup has thrown up two smashing games to look forward to. When Marco Tardelli came into the studio he was in great form and signed a couple of blown up photos of him celebrating that famous World Cup final goal. Maybe if anyone scores a late winner for their team in the semis they should try a Tardelli celebration in honour of the Irish assistant manager.

Finally, well done to the Ireland Under 17 girls team who did so well in reaching the World Cup quarter finals. Manager Noel King is steeped in the League of Ireland and it's wonderful to see him, like Brian Kerr before him, show that those from the domestic league can mix it with the best of them on the world stage.

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