Will it always be sunny at the Racecourse Ground?

Several times in recent months mention has been given to the fact new avenues have to be unearthed and explored in a sometimes vain attempt to maintain some degree of emotional strength and hope.

Horizons have had to be broadened. With farming out of the equation by circumstances beyond my control and NPHET/the ‘Government’ making sport and those to whom it is so deeply important pay for the problems of the entire world.

In my case, of course, that has only been possible due to Susie’s love, patience, care and gentle encouragement. Some of which – like the veg farming and the bits of woodwork/art and developing a love for actually playing cards rather than just watching.

Those are just the ones I’ve given airtime so far. Add to that this website has undergone renovation, likewise our YouTube channel and there have been attempts at cooking, baking and even making a cup of tea for myself for the very first time. Which, one is delighted to report, did not lead to anybody to anybody being scalded or any tears of over spilled milk.

However, as well as all the above, some of the greatest strength she has imbued me with has come from approaching what have long been part of the list of essentials for negotiating a path through life from a different angle. One being in terms of favourite television viewing and the other fresh approach to another facet of life that needed serious re-igniting but which has always been a form of therapy in itself.

The simple yet indecribably beneficial distraction that is reading. Now, no secret has ever been made of the fact that reading habits in this seat are sporadic at best. Which is actually as frustrating as it is ironic.

Simply because, as well stocked as the video/DVD collection is in Boylan Talks Sport basecamp, the book stash is even greater. The thing is, though, like many other things when dealing with depression. Everything gets the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ treatment.

But the tomorrows roll into one another, the phonecalls remain unmade, the texts unsent and, in this case, the books unread. Until, eventually, embarrassment chips away leaving the mere thought of carrying out such mundane, routine, everyday tasks end up feeling akin to trying to complete the Tour De France in the wheelchair.

Perhaps, mind you, everything does happen for a reason. Having taken a hiatus from getting reading material due to a bulging backlog for a couple of festive seasons, for some reason, a spark was generated to try and go bookworm again. Well, the ‘some’ reason is actually very easily identifiable – a desire to get my hands on Martina Cox’s personal, often harrowing account of the savage, unprovoked attack on her husband Sean prior to the Champions League encounter between Liverpool and AS Roma on the day after my birthday, April 24th of 2018.

When I have the book entirely read, it will be the subject of a separate post, but, even at this stage in the story, there is the emotional tsunami of the horrors inflicted upon my friend and former GAA committee colleague along with his brother Marty, in contrast to the kindness, support and – most of all – hope called forth by a unity woven through one common thread – the love of sport in a community and indeed an entire world.

You see, the common bond of sport can see the most unlikely of bedfellows aligning together. How else to explain Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds recently investing in Wrexham FC. Being as far from a movie buff as Arlene Foster would be to a Celtic fan, I’d just about heard of Ryan Reynolds, but hadn’t a breeze who McElhenney was.

Until another Susie intervention. Earlier in this ramble, mention was made of, as well as getting back into reading, television viewing is now on a considerably broader scale. Yes, The Simpsons, Family Guy, CNN News and any manner of sport or true crime forensic programming is still crucial to negotiating one’s way along life’s more bumpy roads, a few American comedies have definitely been very useful additions to the entertainment repertoire.

The likes of Brooklyn Nine Nine and the US version of The Office and of most relevance to this offering It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia because

The likes of Brooklyn Nine Nine the US version of The Office and of particular relevance in this case, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia . The sitcom, starring Danny DeVito, is based on the premise of four friends running an Irish-American bar. But that, given the chaotic nature of the lifestyles of those trying to do so, only becomes a side issue.

Rob McElhenney (first left) with the rest of the cast.

That the bar is billed as Irish-American is significant but not really that surprising given that McElhenney, who wrote the sitcom, has been known to spend considerable time in Ireland. Indeed, he has stayed within 30 minutes of my own home. What the attraction to Wrexham is has yet to be established.

What’s for sure, however, is that it’ll surely raise the profile of the Welsh club. They first came to my attention nearly three decades ago when they sensationally defenestrated Arsenal from the FA Cup. With Ireland’s Brian Carey aboard.

Brian Carey was part of the Wrexham team that stunned Arsenal

The old club’s fortunes have oscilated wildly with them currently residing in the National League – formerly the Conference. The fifth tier of English football. These investments by big names – particularly ones from overseas, don’t always pay dividends.

Look no further than the Glazer family’s calamitous intrusion on Manchester United. Or the ‘influence’ of the people behind Venkhys at Blackburn Rovers or those who brought Blackpool to the mountain top before turning a blind eye as they dropped like a stone over the clifftop and into the pits of footballing hell.

There have been successful financial injections to clubs of course. From the likes of Jack Walker at Blackburn, the sadly deceased gentleman who revolutionised Leicester City or – most obviously – the Far East consortium who have turned Manchester City from noisy neighours into one of the most potent, rampant forces of nature in world football.

Then there are the lads from Manchester United’s Class Of ’92 – the Neville brothers, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt – who have transformed the fortunes of Salford City since becoming owners of the greater Manchester club.

Salford City’s famous owners

To their credit, it would appear the two American stars of the screen have done their homework before taking the plunge into club ownership.

As their purchase of the giants of Welsh football was confirmed this week, Reynolds said: “This is the third-oldest club on the planet, we see no reason why it can’t have global appeal. We plan to make Wrexham a global force”. Before encouragingly adding that the duo had “No plans to re-locate, rename or re-brand the club”.

The view from the Eric Roberts Stand at the home of Wrexham AFC

Whether or not it’ll always be sunny at the Racecourse Ground could be a different matter entirely!

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