Irish football great Paddy Mulligan reflects on his career and how a wayward bun cost him the chance to manage his country.
Mulligan, who turned 70 on St Patrick’s Day, has been speaking to Dave Kelly in the second instalment of the new podcast series Different Class.
Mulligan was vying for the job with Eoin Hand ahead of the 1982 World Cup qualifiers but an FAI official took exception to a food fight going wrong amongst the squad and when it came down to a vote amongst their committee, it left Hand with the majority.
"Rumour has it he said 'I wouldn't vote for Mulligan because he hit me with a bun"
“When professional footballers get together and they get a bit bored, they do the most stupid and daft things. We've all done it. You're sitting around the table having your evening meal. You're bored, having a bit of fun and laughing and you are maybe throwing a few things here and there.
“I happened to pick up a bun and throw it in the direction of whoever but it hit an FAI official. If I meant to hit him I probably wouldn't have hit him.
“He took umbrage I think with that and rumour has it he said 'I wouldn't vote for Mulligan because he hit me with a bun'. That's the psyche of the man.
“I got beaten by two votes, 9-7, by Eoin. Eoin went on and did a good job for a few years. It went a bit sour for him at the end but that was just one of those things.”
Mulligan discusses his playing career which took him from the League of Ireland, which was thriving at the time, to England where he lined out for Chelsea, Crystal Palace and West Brom.
He also details an encounter of coming up against Diego Maradona in one of his final games for Ireland.
“There were an awful lot more highs than lows. The only regret I would have would be Crystal Palace, that I joined there. And if that’s the only regret I’ve had then I’ve been a very, very lucky man.
“It was brilliant, from the time I went down to Home Farm as a 12 or 13-year-old. From then on it was just magnificent. If you had said to me when I was a young lad that I was going to have the career that I had, I would have settled for a third or a quarter of it.”