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A Different View

Ever-changing football fashions in the wacky world of sport

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Patrick O'Reilly with his installation Thorn at his exhibition in The Shed at Galway Docks for the Galway International Arts Festival. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time when togging out for football wearing different colour boots would have been a sign of abject poverty – or at the very least an indelible source of embarrassment.

You might as well wear your underpants instead of football togs, because this would represent no greater mortification.

And yet if you enjoyed the World Cup ­– and some of us are still suffering withdrawal symptoms – you’ll know that the notion of footballers wearing two boots of different colours is now the coolest thing on earth.

The difference, of course, is that they came that way – not that your mother went looking in the seconds section of some sports shop to find two matching size eights in any style and colour you’d care to imagine.

Indeed there were superstars wearing what could only be described as knitted boots in Brazil – very sophisticated crochet, by all accounts, but knitting nonetheless.

Back in the day, knitted boots were something your maiden aunt made for your new-born baby – but then again Alice bands were for Irish dancers and pony tails were for girls.

Most of us in middle-age can remember the jaw-dropping amazement that greeted Gerry McInerney’s return from an American sojourn with a pair of white boots, which he went on to wear with such distinction in Croke Park in that half-back line of all half-back lines alongside Keady and Finnerty.

It was just as well that the Kinvara man was one of the outstanding hurlers of his generation, because he also matched the white boots with a brown tan and swashbuckling style that wouldn’t have looked out of place if he was playing for Brazil.

He may well have inspired a generation to turn their backs on black boots. And that’s where the problems started.

Because it’s fine to be different if you’re very good but if you stand out because you’re rubbish, it’s not a good idea to underline your incompetence by dressing differently as well.

I can recall that deadliest – in every sense – of full-forwards, Colm O’Rourke of Meath, when he had retired and was dabbling in the world of broadcasting for the first time.

He saw Mayo’s giant midfielder Liam McHale take the field at Croke Park wearing another pair of white boots and Colm – being of older stock – wouldn’t have been more exasperated if this giant had come out wearing a dress.

“Back in my day,” he exclaimed, “you’d love if a fella came out to mark you and he was wearing white boots….”

He didn’t have to say much more, but the clear insinuation was that he was fair game if he was so stupid.

Colm didn’t quite come from the era when boots came over your ankle and looked more like something a miner would wear into the pits with metal studs attached to get you a grip on the grass.

But he might as well have.

Not that the changing fashions of sport stop there either; why, for example, do players wear short sleeved jerseys with body warmers underneath – why not just wear long sleeved shirts from the start?

And then, after a goal, you are treated to sight of a multi-millionaire footballer pulling up his jersey to reveal an off-white vest with a message written in marker by men who could afford to hire the monks who did the calligraphy for the Book of Kells – what’s that all about?

They proclaim in marker that they love their wives, and yet a week later there’s a tabloid tale of them with some glamour model in a hotel room, armed with a phone to provide the photographic evidence, both that they mightn’t love their wives so much after all and they don’t wear vests in real life either.

If we’d known back in the day that the height of football fashion would one day be wearing different coloured boots and vests covered in ink, we’d have been more cutting edge that we’d ever imagined.

Except we’d never earn two hundred grand a week for it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Fall in home ownership leaves renters with uncertain future

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Life used to be simple, if predictable; you went to school, got a job – or first did a degree to get a job – bought a house, had a family, paid off the mortgage over 20 years, and accumulated a small nest egg to allow for a fairly comfortable retirement.

Now you’re likely to be paying off your mortgage into those golden years – and that’s if you’re one of the lucky ones. Because you might also be one those who never quite managed to buy, still paying exorbitant rent on a fraction of your former income.

And yet when you read about the rental crisis, it’s just about the here and now – when the real nuclear explosion won’t blow until Generation Rent become pensioners.

But they manage it in other countries, you say – and they do. Because they have rents that are fixed for a lifetime (in some cases even beyond that, so that a family can stay in their home for another generation) and they can’t be evicted just because there’s more to be made as an Airbnb.

Simple economics show that, if your rent is a couple of grand a month and your pension is a fifth or a quarter of your former salary, you won’t be able to keep up the monthly payments.

And then what happens?

Will pensioner tenants be turfed out, forced to live on the streets – or to huddle down in the spare room of their children’s rented accommodation?

If people buy homes now – if they can afford to – it’s already likely to be ten or more years later than their parents did.

And given the more transitory nature of employment these days, they may also move home more than once – unlike the vast majority of their parents, who bought their home after they got married and stayed there for the rest of their lives.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Things we used to do – and habits we never had before

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

One of the realities of getting older is that there are things we used to be able to do that we can’t do now – and things we do now that we never used to do before.

We used to know phone numbers by heart; we used to be able to do basic addition, subtraction, division and multiplication in our heads; we used to tell the time by looking at the big hand and the little hand on a clock.

And if we had a watch it told us the time or if it was very posh, it also told us the date – although very often only if you remembered to push it forward when the month didn’t have 31 days in it.

Now your watch will tell you how many steps you’ve taken in the last 24 hours, what your heart rate is and if there are any emails in your in-box.

We had records or CDs or cassette tapes to store our favourite music; sometimes we still do, but the notion that we could have every song ever recorded on a telephone that wasn’t even plugged into the wall would have been too much to even contemplate.

We went to call boxes to ring home, if we could find one with a phone that wasn’t pulled off its axis – and we kept a supply of two-pence pieces because you needed a pair of them to make the call.

We used to be able to play on a quieter road, even if we had to stop the game and move aside for the occasional car; we used to write letters and wait a week for a reply.

Lego came in a big packet with just a random collection of different sized plastic bricks – and from that you made a house or a car.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Flying to the moon – because billionaires go the extra mile

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a story told of a rich Irish businessman who found a way to demonstrate the size of his wealth – and it may be apocryphal, and therefore defamatory, so we won’t mention the billionaire by name.

Suffice to say that said billionaire was generous to a fault when it came to entertaining his friends, always treating them to the finest of food and the best wine – only he restricted his guess to the second-best bottles of wine.

Because he, and he alone, had the dearest one. And he would encourage the wine waiter to make no secret of that fact.

So even if the rest of the table were enjoying a €5,000 bottle of something from before World War II, our friend would top that with one of the ones fashioned out of water by Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana.

It was just to demonstrate that, even in the world of the mega-rich, there was still a line between the haves and those who have even more of it.

Two other wealthy Irishmen, Tony O’Reilly and Denis O’Brien – neither of whom was involved in the wine story – once met to try and sort out their differences over Independent Newspapers.

But according to Matt Cooper’s brilliant biography of O’Reilly, it didn’t get off to the best of starts – because Denis accused Tony of deliberately offering him a chair that was lower down than his host’s . . . therefore putting him at a disadvantage from the get-go.

In the end, chairs of equal height were found so that these titans of industry could look each other in the eye.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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