Brendan Ogle questions the legitimacy of the views of pundits in the League of Ireland, wondering if they are motivated by cash to be sensationalist in their nature.
Four hours before an appearance on ‘Soccer Republic’ some weeks ago pundit Richie Sadlier announced his appearance on the show as follows through his personal Twitter account:
— Richie Sadlier (@RichieSadlier) August 25, 2014
Well Richie certainly didn’t flatter to deceive and that night he launched a scathing attack on fans of Dundalk FC even calling for some of them to be banned from Oriel Park. Five days later Richie picked up yet another pay cheque, this time from the Sunday Independent, to attack those same fans and this time tried to link them to some republican splinter group that few had ever heard of until he published its name in Ireland’s biggest selling newspaper.
Regular readers of Richie’s ‘SINDO’ column confirm that Richie’s focus on the League of Ireland that week was something oF a rare artifact. Richie seldom offers much to the League of Ireland in terms of promoting the game here preferring to write about football cross channel, whose fans are presumably beyond reproach. I joke of course. Richie knows much more about ‘gobshites’ following teams in the UK than he does in Ireland having spent eight years of his playing days at Millwall, home to English football’s most notorious fans.
I do wonder however how many he faced down and told they should be banned from The Den as they were rampaging around grounds and cities in England wrecking all before them? No doubt Richie would answer that he was a player then and now he is a commentator paid to comment. That may well be true, but is he paid to slag off the people who keep our local game alive?
UPDATE: Richie Sadlier has responded, along with Ray Houghton and Stephen Hunt. See the response here.
I am from Dundalk and proud to be so. My hometown club has always found support from across the community and those supporters weren’t always of the ‘boy scout’ variety. Many soccer fans, like me, have reached middle age to look back with bemusement at some of our antics as youths.
However, I will tell you this; yes the fans sometimes sing songs Richie doesn’t like, wave flags that offend his sensitive eyes and let off the odd flare or two attracting the odd fine or two. But what they also do, along with fans of all League of Ireland clubs, is spend their own money (often very limited if they are young students or unemployed) supporting their club and their town or area.
They are the lifeblood of the game in Ireland and it is questionable what entitlement any paid hack has to slag them off on Denis O’Brien’s money, or even paid for by RTE’s license holders.
Sadlier has responded.
@PunditArenaLOI Bren’s a really great guy, he’s got me thinking a lot now about what I’m doing with my life. I wish he’d spoken out earlier
— Richie Sadlier (@RichieSadlier) September 23, 2014
Brendan Ogle, Pundit Arena.