Armchair Reporter: Mercy mercy me, things ain't what they used to be

 Roy Keane was joined by Mark Pougatch and Lee Dixon on ITV on Wednesday night

IT’S fair to say that despite my (rapidly disappearing) youth, the modern world is a struggle.

I like things the way they used to be.

Not for me this idea of doing the Christmas shopping on Amazon months in advance and then sitting back in the armchair, waiting for the goods to arrive.

No, it’s all about running around packed shops with sweat gushing down my back on December 23 or 24, uttering the words “that’ll do” on quite a few occasions.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without almost getting into at least one bout of fisticuffs with a young mother who thinks she has the right to cut you up just because she has a pram (Next, Coleraine, 2001. I haven’t forgotten).

As Mrs Doyle famously said in the sensational Father Ted festive special: “Maybe I like the misery of making tea.” Another modern trend that gets my back up is that of commentators and presenters turning the initials in team names into words.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching Celtic take on Kilmarnock, when the viewing public were told that Killie’s Dutch striker had been signed from Knockbreda. ‘That went under the radar,’ I thought. ‘Might be a story in that.’

Yet, upon further (Wikipedia) investigation, it turns out the man in question formerly played for NAC Breda.

N. A. C. This worrying trend has carried right to the top level of football.

In the Champions League and Europa League over the past few seasons we’ve seen AEK Athens (Ike, apparently, like Mr Turner) and PAOK Salonika (Paaaookke, come on) in action.

On Wednesday night, ITV’s otherwise excellent host Mark Pougatch was joined by Roy Keane and Lee Dixon for Champions League highlights.

Pougatch immediately introduced Tottenham’s clash with Cessska Moscow (it’s CSKA man) from Wembley, a venue that has made Pochettino’s knees go all trembly.

After a shaky start, Spurs kicked into gear and secured a victory that made sure of Europa League action in the new year, although all the talk in the studio afterwards was about a feisty showing from Dele Alli.

“If you took that fire out of his (Dele) belly, would he be the same player?” asked Pougatch.

“I think he needs that bit of nastiness,” replied Keane.

“If you took that fire out of his belly, he wouldn’t be the same player.”

Roy was clearly having one of those odd nights when his belly was slightly low on fire.

On we went to Leicester’s trip to Porto, and with top spot in their group secured, Claudio Ranieri made 10 changes to his team, handing a rare start to Ahmed Mid Ulster Sports Arena (MUSA) amongst others.

Porto had a field day, running out 5-0 winners, and Pougatch was worried about the Foxes.

“They’ve Man City coming up this weekend, are they in real trouble?” “I think they’ve City coming up this weekend – they are in real trouble,” was at least part of Keane’s reply.

Later on, Pougatch brought up Barcelona’s win over the one team that does need their name abbreviated, Borussia Moenchengladbach, in order to point out that Barca had broken the record for attempted passes in a game.

“That doesn’t seem to impress you,” he pointed out to Roy.

“Not really, no,” said Keane, channeling his inner Shania Twain.

“Does anything impress you, Roy?” asked Dixon.

“Your gear,” fired back the Corkonian, blissfully unaware that he looked as if he’d gone halfers with Dixon on a two-for-one brown V-neck deal.

Presumably picked up on Amazon, way before the Christmas rush. Right, I’m away to dust off the shinpads. I have to pop into NXT later on in the week.


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