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    • Daniel Farke (Norwich coach).   Gimli from Lord Of The Rings.
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    • I've never been much a fan of international football, even less so in recent years, but for me in my late teens-early twenties, it was impossible not to be taken along with the ride and the buzz, simply because I and we, as a nation, had simply never known it before.   There was no delusion. Ireland was not a sleeping giant of football being woken from its slumber. It was a pure novel thrill of Ireland not losing every game and even actually winning some. There was at last, a plan. Not pretty, just pretty effective. Not  But everybody knew it, and could get behind it, because we knew what to expect. The 'Put 'em under pressure' ethos was one everyone could get on board with. It was a mix of 'route 1' football mixed with a lot of pressing to force mistakes. This was disruption football. It produced results. It gave Ireland, at a time of dreadful politics, mass unemployment and mass emigration, including myself, something to sing and shout about.   There had been some great players in the recent past, like Liam Brady and John Giles, but they were like Rushy, destined never to be lucky enough to have another half dozen decent players around them so that they might get to a Euro or World Cup tournament.   The 70s & 80s were the days when if Ireland lost only 4-0, it was a moral victory. The days of Eoin Hand, as the manager, 1980-85, were as dire as could be imagined. He'd only ever managed League of Ireland teams, and had won the FAI Cup with Limerick City in 81/82, in all reality was all the smalltime & incompetent* FAI were deserving of.   And then came Jack, as a result of more bungling politic wrangling, which was characteristic of the FAI, particularly for the incident in 1980, in the list quoted by Gav.   He immersed himself in Irish culture, the drinking, the craic, and he loved the fishing. There was one story told by himself, where there was traffic chaos one day, in a town in Mayo, when the bridge over the river was thronged with people all gathered for the spectacle of Jack fishing. It was very much a case of hero worship, because here was a guy giving Irish football fans something they'd never experienced before. Being a Northerner, he had a common, working class touch, and appreciated the adoration, even if sometimes feeling a little taken aback and embarrassed by it. But he was always a gentleman and the centre of attention in company, and he loved the honesty of the Irish as they loved his.   He chose his own time to leave, after 10 years, and a final defeat by Netherlands at Anfield, which meant they failed to quality for Euro 96. Keen not to hang on until he was hounded out and fired, and risk losing the affection and respect of the Irish people, he resigned straight after the game. He knew he'd got as much as he could have from the group pf players he had, and moved on to give somebody else an opportunity.   He didn't outstay his welcome, and was always greeted with open arms and more of the same old adoration when he subsequently visited Ireland, where as noted, he was wily and canny with his money, and no less loved because of that. Publicans were perfectly happy to forego the money, simply for the privilege of having Jack drink in their bar, the custom that brought in, the stories they were able to tell, and to able to pint to the framed cheque on the wall.   Thanks for the memories, Jack.      
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