Last week Newstalks’ Off The Ball had an interesting interview with Kerry Senior Footballer Fionn Fitzgerald who has started preliminary work on relative age effects in Gaelic Games. This is of particular interest to us, having conducted work into the area for Irish soccer in the past. Our research not only confirms a bias towards players born in the months just after the cut-off point in underage soccer (January), but also a shifting bias, as prior to 1997 the 1st of August had been the cut-off date for registration.
While this interview was my main reason for me listening, I was also captured by a very interesting segment at the start of the show where the punditry of Eamon Dunphy was analysed. For those unfamiliar with Dunphy, he is one of the more outspoken pundits of Irish and Premier League soccer. His previously held views on FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo are now legendary. It was to this that listeners were treated to. Two segments were played. One from 2008 and the other from after last Tuesday night’s game between Roma and Real Madrid.
Here’s what Eamon said in 2008:
“The Tiger…someone like Tiger Woods. Someone like Johnny Murtagh. Someone like Ruby Walsh. Eh…someone like Padraig Harrington. They set the standards in their behaviour. In the way they deal with adversity. In the way that they deal with success and triumph. And we want to see that in our own sport. John (Giles) loves the game deeply. I love the game, and Liam (Brady) does. And to see this fella. Why do we need to say it? Throwing himself on the ground, at least half a dozen times, looking for fouls that he didn’t get. Claiming two penalties which he didn’t get. But…waving his arming at other players, on his own team. It was a disgrace to professional football”.
[Bill O’Herlihy to Eamon Dunphy - “We’ve seen it before though?]
“Yeah, hold on. You asked before was this about two great one players – Messi and Ronaldo? Well if it was, Messi proved himself after only forty-five minutes football in the last six weeks, to be at least a real pro, and a real player. This fella Ronaldo is a cod”.
And last week…
“Athletically and football-wise he (Ronaldo) is a great, great player. I don’t think we have seen a goal scorer like him in the history of the game. His greatness now for me, at this stage, redeems everything. You know, but he’s a great. His goals. I was wrong. I should have embraced him from the start”.
One of the most interesting books I have read over the past couple of years is Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics. The book tells the wonderful story of the clash of ideologies, from the early 1920s onwards, between the established Keynesian School at Cambridge, and the then recently established, London School of Economics off the Strand in central London.
A recurring criticism of the great J.M. Keynes, often levelled at the man, was his frequent changing of position. Following the stock market crash of 1929, the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Snowden, rejected Keynes’ advice on how to cure the crisis in Britain. This forced Keynes to change his position.
A round of jokes following on from this, with Winston Churchill alleged to have remarked “If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three”. Keynes’ reply is legendary. He said “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
Eamon Dunphy, take a bow.