Friday, August 03, 2007

Rebel Waltz

I watched my home-town football team lose a High Court case in 2000. We ended up there because the football authorities colluded in a sham that allowed Kilkenny City - who had originally been docked 3-points for playing a player whose signature they had forged on the registration forms - get off, by offering an end of season replay of the game they were docked points for. Eventually the judge decided the registration forms didn't explicitly state that the player had to sign them personally! Full, ridiculous, story here (sub required).

Then I watched as we bounced back in 2001 and got promoted as champions, only to find ourselves in a League that was being trimmed to 10-teams from 12. Despite winning the FAI Cup in 2002, we became the only club in League history to be relegated straight from third-from-bottom and the club with the highest ever points total to be relegated. This relegation almost killed us financially and we struggled big time for the next four seasons, which would bite us in the ass all over again as you'll see. As it happens the 10-team League was a disaster and it was soon back at 12.

Then I watched in 2006 as it was decided that the FAI would take-over the previously semi-autonomous League. They decided on a grading system to earn places in the Premier Division in order to ensure stability and progress (remember that) - 500-points for off-field setup, 500-points for the previous five seasons of performances. Despite scoring 8th out of 22 in the former it was a mathematical impossibility to be promoted because of the latter. We finished second and won a play-off against Waterford, the second-last team in the Premier. Yet Shamrock Rovers and third place Galway were promoted, not us.

You may have seen some of the nonsense that followed. However that was nothing compared to the fact that Shelbourne, the Champions, subsequently imploded in a sea of lies and deception. What was that about stability and progress? Of course Waterford kept their Premier Division place as a result. We don't mind (!) as we're storming the First Division this season, top since the opening day, where we will remain. Of course the circle is turning and next season the League intends trying the same 10-team nonsense again...

So why did I bring all that up? Well I think my club has suffered bias almost to the point of extinction, so I want to share extracts from Cork's Evening Echo about anti-Cork bias in the GAA. This is because Cork had three hurling players suspended for fighting, which cost them the Munster Championship; because they only got a draw last week, after the keeper killed the ball and Waterford tied the game from the subsequent free; because the Cork footballers are in Croke Park on Saturday whereas the hurling replay is in Crokers on Sunday; and because the price of tickets for Sunday is €45. The phrase 'anti-Cork bias' is, of course, resonant with one Royston Keane. Anyway, that extract:

"Eamonn Murphy [some hack] suggested the claims that there is no longer an anti-Cork bias in operation can no longer be seen as paranoia and here are your views."

Anti-Cork Bias: Rebel Fans Hit Back

"I think the anti-Cork bias is so evident it borders on criminality. The powers that be have a duty to all counties not just the other 31. We are a breed apart and they don't like it." Tony, The Glen.

"Fixtures were rearranged so the Wexford hurlers and footballers played in Croke Park the same day, while the GAA bends over backwards to accomodate the Dubs. How can anyone doubt there's an anti-Cork bias." Fergus, Kinsale.

"The most apparent thing to me is our players' involvement in the GPA. Donal Og suffers the most thus Cork suffers..." Anon

"The GAA are obviously out to get Cork, all the more reason for an 'oul Cork double, the most bitter pill the GAA could swallow." Gav, Rochestown.

"I really think something drastic needs to be done to stop the pick-pocketing of Cork supporters. I think the only way to make the GAA listen is to hurt their income and withdraw all our teams from the All Ireland." Gracie the kid.

"As Roy Keane said there is an anti-Cork bias. The GAA don't like Donal Og cause he is head of the GPA..." Anon

"Of course there's an anti-Cork bias driven by jealousy at the way we've led the organisation for over 100 years and we're suffering as a result. It will only make our success taste sweeter." Ben, East Cork.

If you sense that I'm not overly sympathetic, you'd be right.
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