Spud Watch – The Irish Abroad 24.2.11

Belated Happy Valentines to all the Spud Watch readers and I hope your night was more enjoyable than mine when me and I my trusty sock spent the evening watching montages of Tony Galvin on YouTube and my Cagney and Lacey box set.

Here’s this week’s Spud Watch…

I’ve been taking a very close look at the Championship these last few weeks in the hope of trying to get inside the mind’s eye of Trapattoni and see what exactly he finds so appealing about this place.

The Championship

Liam Lawrence went off injured for Pompey vs Barnsley – who now have Paul McShane in their ranks after he secured his dream move to a club five places below Hull. McShane was uncharacteristically at fault for a goal and seems to have lost none of his A-game in the big money transfer.  McShane was in the Premier League this time two years ago but he’s taken a step backwards now to go forwards. Sometimes players have to take steps back to go forward. Hopefully his next step back will be off the Cliffs of Moher.

Shane Long failed to score for the first time in four games against Watford on Saturday last. Their play-off hopes are gone and I’ll put my dick on Long not being there this time next year. This is a small gesture as I haven’t much to lose here, sadly. Shane Long is a goal machine. Paul Green is a sh*t machine.

Green continues to play at right-back for his club Derby County. The 27-year-old is now at the age where he is about to enter his prime, and what better way to do so by playing out of position with a team five places off relegation in the Championship who score about as regularly as Joe Brand.
Credit where credit is due; Sean St Ledger (who is usually the proverbial Bishop Brendan Smith rather than Padre Pio in the footballing stakes) – his form seems to have improved since that Welsh game. He scored during the week although he was heavily to blame in surrendering a 2-0 lead. But they came from behind to draw at top side QPR. You see I do actually watch these sh*t matches and I am not setting out to be deliberately biased against our players not operating in the Premier League but I would not bet against  St Ledger playing in the top-flight next year such is nature of bullsh*t hype and a few international goals. If he does play in the Premier League I will cut off my penis out of protest. Again this is a small gesture as I don’t have much to lose, sadly.

Trap singled St Ledger out for praise saying that he should not be blamed for the rest of his Preston team being sh*te in the Championship. But surely that’s a further indictment of the player’s sh*teness? If one cannot stand out in a struggling team then surely one is just as sh*te as the rest of the sh*te on that struggling team? Now I love a joke as much as the next man, And some people have said that my criticism is OTT and blasé (when I find out who you are I will stab you (joke) (not a joke)). But the fact of the matter is this man is not very good. He scored the other night and his team went 2-0 up away from home. Now had he been a striker or midfield player then maybe you would be thinking he is not to blame. But he is a centre-half. He is to blame.

Good or even average enough players do not consistently fail to stand-out.  It’s a credit to Richard Dunne that he carries such dead weight (let alone the 18 stone he has to lump around at the best of times). Sean St Ledger is a goal threat and has shown this at international and club level but the threat of goals going the other way is greater; if that makes sense. I do endeavour to make sense as much as possible and do not mean to be blasé but when I find you I will kill you.

Darren O’Dea continues to be an unused sub at Ipswich where the spud crop has not suffered too badly after all from heavy soil-leeching since Keane’s exit. Mark Kennedy, Colin Healy and Damien Delaney continue to get games.

Coventry’s Kieren Westwood will get his big chance now for Ireland with Given out. Only Paddy Kenny is better than him in the Championship and they are both better than many Premier League goalkeepers.

Kevin Kilbane continues to link up well with one-time Irish hopeful Danny Cadamarteri at Huddersfield. Of course this would be good news if Huddersfield operated in the Spanish Primera League and not League 1. Cadamarteri is now 31 and is no longer being hotly tipped to be Tommy Coyne’s natural replacement.  Cadamarteri’s tenuous Irish connection came to fruition after it was discovered he rid a fat mess from Tullamore on a hen party in Liverpool.  To be fair I wouldn’t want to play for Ireland after that either.

Up in the Premier league

Everton – Coleman

The boy-wonder wasn’t great last week against Bolton or against Wales and is starting to look a bit jaded.  Maybe it’s OK that he’s gone off the boil a bit but against Chelsea on Saturday he returned to better form and can be proud of his efforts against the best left-back in England. He’s got pace does Coleman and I think only Bale is quicker in the league.  It’s been a while since this country produced somebody quick. I suppose Derval O’Rourke is quite fast but not since Sonia O’ Sullivan pre sh*t-gate in Atlanta, before her bowels turned to liquid, have we seen an Irish person so consistently quick at a high level.  Some kind of chemical reaction occurred that evening in Atlanta. As her bowels leaked all over the track it was like a metaphor for the speed which she once had draining from her body like when Superman lost his powers in Superman 2. At least he had the decency not to sh*t everywhere.

Well done to young Everton full-back Shane Duffy who was almost in a real life version of Flatliners last July. He was on the bench for Everton vs Chelsea in the FA Cup. He’s been getting rave reviews in the reserve team and even if he had died I’d be picking him ahead of Kilbane or McShane.


Big Mick had his arse soundly beaten by the Arse. Bad day at the office at the Emirates after a great Saturday evening against Man U in Molineaux the week before; Doyle playing a starring role. Against West Brom in the derby on Sunday, Kevin Doyle had the proverbial sh*te kicked out of him by the Baggies’ defence. Once again Doyle lead the line well in the Paul Wallace/Operation Front Line role for Wolves and was inches away from scoring three or four times. Kevin Foley returned to the line-up but in a right-midfield role. Interestingly himself and Stephen Ward seem to play out of their natural positions of full-backs in the middle of the pitch. Perhaps this is Trapattoni’s argument for not picking the players, or maybe he’s just being a bit of a bollocks. Stephen Hunt may be injured or away training for King of the Tinkers 2011.

Hopefully Jamie O’Hara decides to play for us. He’s industrious and creative in equal measure but probably doesn’t fit into Trap’s system/pyramid scheme. For West Brom, Steven Reid featured and Dean Kiely was on the bench. Remember him? I once walked past him on O’Connell Street a few years back – He didn’t recognise me though.


Dunne and Clark are now the first two names on the Villa team sheet and have stopped getting booked every week. They have played every minute of every game since the last Spud Watch. It’s imperative that this continues as we will probably need to keep a clean-sheet to get anything in Russia, which could be tough given the fact that all of Sean St Ledger’s sheets are brown.

Man City – Shay Given

I saw this on Gumtree this week:

“Need an extra hand around the place? Then I’m your man. May I suggest you remove that sign that says “situation vacant” and replace it with one saying “situation filled?”

Contact Shay:


Shay has now developed a wrist-injury ruling him out for a couple of months. Apparently wrist injuries are common amongst those practising in self-harm with suicidal tendencies. Let’s hope Shay gets the help he needs. Going down the self -harm path is not something I’d wish on any of our players, unless you are one of the holy trinity:  Paul Green, Glen Whelan and to a slightly lesser extent, Darron Gibson. They have some good strong rope in Woodies lads.

(It’s actually a shoulder injury but it doesn’t tie in with the story. Though it’s still possible Shay did it to himself, like Riggs in Lethal Weapon, and he was a model of sanity – ED)


Keith Fahey has played f*ck-all since I started bigging him up. He’s a competent squad player who is content to bide his time on the bench. He scored a great goal against Wales but seems to be feeling the wrath of Alex McLeish of late and not getting much game-time. Maybe he’s pissed off like the rest of Scotland about James McCarthy playing for us.  Alex McLeish and David Moyes – who would win in “I’m the biggest psychopath” competition? They seem to follow the Begsy from Trainspotting School of Etiquette.

Stephen Carr continues to be a stalwart and might be rewarded with a medal in the league cup on Sunday against Arsenal. Let’s hope so. It will certainly justify him giving up international football. There’s a lot to be said for spending the evening on Chatroulette instead of playing for your country. Just ask Stephen Ireland, Paul Scholes, Stephen Carr and Andy Reid, who frequently appears wearing nothing only his banjo on international nights. One of the great sights of the modern game.

Wigan – James McCarthy

It’s been three games since McCarthy’s wonder brace against Blackburn. In those outings he has barely touched the ball, most notably against Bolton the other night who aren’t Real Madrid.

He seems to be a lazy b*stard as John Giles highlighted on the Premiership. Will he play for us? I’d say so. I like Braveheart and almost all Scottish people but some of them really have chips on their shoulders – like that lad who wrote that McCarthy will never be welcome back in Scotland. They said it to McGeady also. To be fair the way he plays at times he’s not welcome anywhere.

McCarthy is more of a Frank Lampard midfielder than a Keane. So unless he’s scoring goals, he’s doing f*ck all else. In fact if there is anyone he reminds me of it is Stephen Ireland circa 2008. Now I’m prone to the odd nonsensical over-reaction – but McCarthy’s second goal against Blackburn was the best goal scored by an “Irish” player since a Stephen Ireland goal in 2009, although technically he’s not an “Irish” player no more. Is there any way Scotland could come to some kind of deal and take Stephen Ireland? And maybe take McGeady back? And maybe take Charlie Adams instead or Sharleen Spiteri before she started having kids and became a pie.

Gilesy reckons McCarthy won’t fit into Trap’s system. In theory Gilesy is right. Who am I to argue with Gilesy?  (Although he is starting to get a bit old and senile now.) Having said that I’ve been wetting the bed and talking sh*te for years but Gilesy reckons McCarthy won’t suit Trap’s plan because Trap’s system requires industrious central mid-fielders who endeavour to stop rather than start things. But when your central midfield players endeavour not to stop anything i.e. Green, Whelan, Gibson, and don’t contribute to the “system” then what’s the point in having them and why not take a chance on someone who might not stop anything but would be a serious goal threat?

For instance Mikey Graham is the fat foolish looking chap in Boyzone. For years he was in the background. I don’t remember him standing out vocally in any of their songs and if he wasn’t there, would he be a loss? He doesn’t contribute so if he had died instead of Stephen Gately then no-one would have given a sh*te, with all due respect. So with the three Mikey Grahams we have on offer then why not change him and put in another band member i.e. James McCarthy? Or better still why not give Mikey Graham a run in the middle ahead of Gibson, Whelan or Green?

The day the music died

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper famously crashed in an aeroplane and were killed in what has become known as the “the day the music died”. I would be willing to do a “Phoenix from the Flames” re-enactment where I am the pilot flying with Paul Green, Glenn Whelan and Darren Gibson. For the sake of Irish football I will take my own life and, more importantly, theirs.

It’s this lack of foresight on Trapattoni’s behalf that’s really starting to irk me. There was once another Italian like him. His name was Mussolini. Mussolini was strung up because the people got sick of him, although he never did anything quite as bad as consistently picking Paul Green. If Trap gets strung up then I hope he leaves Manuela in the will for me. I saw her on “The Late Late” the other night. She looked salacious. She seems like a nice Catholic girl. I wonder does Trap go to confession each month after picking Green, Whelan, Kilbane and McShane. I wonder when he tells McShane to warm up on the sideline, do the good and bad angels appear on his shoulder?

Good angel: “Are you sure this is a good idea Giovanni? I mean the lad did foundation-level balance for the junior cert”

Bad angel: “This is a tremendous idea Giovanni.  Afterwards I suggest you take a sh*te on a tricolour in the middle of the pitch”

Trapattoni: “Well I could do with a sh*t to be honest”

Fulham – Damian Duff

Looked in blistering form against Wales and, more importantly, at a higher level in the Premier League where I saw Duff put in his best performance against a top four defender (Ashley Cole) since his Chelsea days.  I have to say this return to form is a blessing in disguise. Six weeks ago one would have thought that our only creative outlet was going to be Coleman but Duff defied the odds and has shown something his senior colleagues, namely Robbie Keane, could learn from. Work harder tubby.

The worry with Duff of course is that every time he gets an injury will he not be the same lad he was before. He needs to play regularly to keep form. He’s a real confidence player and he missed Sundays FA Cup defeat to Bolton. Let’s hope he gets back fit again because Trapattoni is only a mild stroke away from picking Kilbane again on the left wing.

Robbie Keane

Scored on his debut but has got injured already. The Hammers are struggling. Robbie could be on the move again come the summer if they go down. He looked fat also. Fat people get injured, that’s the way life is.  Look at John Candy; he’s always injured,

Stoke – Jon Walters and AN Other (the artist formally known as Marc Wilson)

Jon Walters played the 90 and a rare full game in the middle for Marc Wilson who didn’t do a tap. Super-sub Glenn Whelan came off the bench with 12 minutes to go for Stoke. He almost touched the ball once but then it was business as usual after that and he recharged his batteries for next week’s game where he will need all the energy he can get to sit on the sidelines. Still though, this is good enough for Trapattoni and his system. It seems a bit unfair if you ask me that a lad can just sit on a bench for six weeks then go straight on to the main stage for Ireland. Apparently he is there to act as a shield. Have you ever see him do this? In fact the ball seems to go straight through him like a poorly programmed sprite in FIFA 1983 on the Atari 2600 and he turns blue and runs away when his team have the ball.

Stoke weren’t playing Barcelona either. Just a sh*tty FA Cup game. Glenn Whelan is the opposite of Barcelona. I wish he was the opposite of alive. Two disparate traits define midfield players – the touch of an alchemist and the touch of a rapist. Some say he played well against Wales. Others would say the Wales midfield was of a standard lower than a League 2 team. Others would say Glenn Whelan isn’t worth his weight in pig excrement. Other would say that he has played about an hour of football since Christmas. Others would say he fits into Trap’s system. Others would say he would fit into an oven.

Man U – John O’Shea

Like Duff, Joshua was written off somewhat before Christmas. Sheasy was impressive against City in the Manchester derby and also against Crawley. He has battled back into contention for the United first team and is probably no longer sixth choice behind Wes Brown and Gary Neville anymore. Some players would have retired after that shot he took against West Ham in the Carling Cup. That would have been enough to drive a man to live in a Travelodge with a plywood parrot for the rest of his days. Sheasy might now feature in the Champs League for United and playing in these games over the next couple of months should help Ireland.

Darron Gibson

This man makes me sick. His face makes me hate him even though I don’t want to hate but I just can’t help it. It gets me thinking about this; why is it that some people when you look at them you immediately despise them? Glenn Whelan? Paul Green? Sean St Ledger? The sight of them vexes me. Though the same applies to everyone on “The All Ireland Talent Show.”

Why is it? Is it some inbuilt natural bias I have against them stemming from the fact that I do not like what they do? Do their own families feel like this when they see them? And if some neutral person who never saw them before and knew nothing about them, would they too find them irritating?

We’ve all been there, where some lad is really annoying and you just want to kill him. But is it this blanket thinking from then on that you assume that everyone is like this? Next week I’ll be discussing the do’s and don’ts of dogging.

Gibson played well against Crawley setting up the goal and will no doubt get more and more games for Man United (He was awful in games leading up the Ireland match and aside from the goal he got was largely useless in that match too) as Alex Ferguson inexplicably continues to pick him. Perhaps he reminds him of his own son Darren. I wish I had a son. Trap says he should move away from Man U because the reality is he’s not in Ferguson’s first 15 let alone first 11. You just have to look at the team-sheet for the big games to see this eg: the Manchester derby last week. In fact if Gibson continues to feature in any more Champions League games I will once again cut my penis off.

Leon Best

Besty is the top Irish goalscorer in the Premiership. In no way is that depressing. Fair play to him though he’s making a go of it and is well worth his place in the Irish squad. He’s got a big hole on him like Beyoncé and will be a real handful to the Macedonian defence if picked. He’s a good looking lad too Besty.

In Scotland

No sign of Conor Sammon in the Wigan team yet. Tony Stokes only got five minutes against Rangers. He’s been in great from lately so it was a shame he got such a bit-part role in the Old Firm. It won’t bother Tony though; he’s got thick skin and a penchant for bouncing back like Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.

Some songs on the Irish iPods this week:

Seamus Coleman

Pace is the Trick – Interpol

Shay Given

Happiness is a Warm Gun – The Beatles

Shane Long at Reading

Thin Lizzy – Get Out of Here

Paul Green

Forget You – Cee Lo Green (no relation)

Kevin Doyle

I Get Knocked Down but I Get Up Again – Chumbawumba

Richard Dunne/Ciaran Clarke

I am a Rock – Simon and Garfunkel

St Ledger/Kilbane/McShane/Whelan

Isn’t it a Pity – George Harrison

Leon Best

Simply the Best (Irish striker in the Premier League on form right now) – Tina Turner

Kieron Westwood

This is my Moment – Martine McCutcheon

Tony Galvin

Galvanise – Chemical Brothers

Non-Irish players

Tim Howard

Shout – The Isley Brothers



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