How the Irish respond to their national football team's current success is viewed through how the Irish responded in the old days. And the days of Jack Charlton and 1988 are the old days. There's a script to follow for Ireland, and it's getting stale. Fans consciously look to our footballers to lift us out of our national gloom. Back then, we didn't expect anything in particular. A benign national fever just happened. The rush is a bit more forced these days, but not at all unpleasant for that.
I tried to appreciate United. I tried to appreciate Chelsea. I tried to appreciate Tottenham. But it proved impossible to watch any of these sides without fizzing into a toxic puddle of weapons-grade hatred.
A rare and special excerpt from a forthcoming novel torn from the headlines: A man dares damnation to have his revenge on tiki-taka.
On the occasion of Mario Balotelli's devouring of himself, a few thoughts on fame—what it is, how it distorts, and how it can hurt, obscure and confound—seem to be in order.
Lionel Messi endures barging and all manner of grappling; studs to the hip; ankle taps and sneaky shirt-pulls and successive outrageously late sliding tackles. Sometimes, the assaults Messi endures look almost choreographed—his obsession with staying on the ball mirrors our own fascination with watching him.