The prospect of Eamon Dunphy, John Giles and even, Lord help us, the most boring man alive, Liam Brady, in conversation is always worth a listen. Though it will never be quite the same without Bill in the chair. Now read on…
Recently, the latest edition of Dunphy’s excellent podcast, The Stand was happened upon in which the three amigos were, as is their wont, dissecting the football affairs of the day. Among them Harry Kane’s recent usurping of the great Jimmy Greaves’ goal scoring record at Tottenham of 166. They also ran the rule over Manchester United’s upturn under Erik ten Hag with the unanimous verdict being that the Dutch coach has them going in the right direction.
However, Eamon wouldn’t be involved if there wasn’t disagreement about something or other. In this case, the sending off of Casemiro. The debate leading to possibly the first time John has ever used an expletive in his life.
Dunphy, as only he could or would, was of the opinion that the best of United’s Brazilian bunch was hard done by in being ‘gated’ in what was by all accounts a fair bit of a brawl.
Normally Eamon would hang on every word his idol says, but for once, mild mannered, mercurial John was having none of his journeyman friend’s predictable bluster – “He had him by the f*****g throat Eamon! “.
Chances are Johnny has never heard of Gerwyn Price, but, upon hearing the podcast, the comparison came to mind that, where normally the only floury thing near John’s mouth would be a Wexford potato, verbal hassle is something which seems to follow the former rugby playing dartist around.
Unless you’ve been under a boulder, if you’ve any interest in darts you’ll know how it is with the muscular Welshman. Insanely talented, yes, but someone who carries himself with about as much decorum as Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farrage rolled into one.
So it can only be said that he brings a lot of the derision on himself. Last night, however, the boot was on the other foot. With the 17 week darting roadshow that is the Premier League swinging into Cardiff, every scintilla of noise made was in his favour. And boy did he give them plenty to roar about.
Firstly by coming through a belter of a quarter final against last week’s outright victor Chris Dobey. In fairness to the latter though, he has taken to being back in the cauldron of competition at this level like a duck to water.
World Champ and Number One Michael Smith got himself up and running with a surprisingly handy win against a still off colour Peter Wright before Nathan Aspinall could his ascent in the sport, taking out the top man. Even though Bully Boy had taken out three tonne-plus finishes.
On the other side of the draw, The Iceman somehow managed to withstand two match darts from MVG before sealing the deal with a 13-dart break of throw.
So to the Final. Before the referee called the players to order at all, the odds were piled against the often luckless Aspinall with Bread Of Heaven and the Welsh National Anthem bellowing around the packed venue.
As can often be the case, it came down to who could hit the maximum number of maximums and the hometown hero edged that stat 3-1 which left him clear by six legs to three overall.
Next week, Peter Wright will be hoping for a similar hometown bounce when the action moves on to Glasgow before arriving in Ireland a week later.