Like a lot of soccer followers I was really looking forward to the MNS (Monday Night Soccer) programme on RTÉ when it came on air the week after the present campaign got underway back in March.
The national broadcaster, and indeed the FAI, promised us a new and refreshing soccer show “that would showcase all aspects of Irish football”. Not so I’m afraid. Instead all we have got is a talking shop consisting of sacked managers like Roddy Collins, Sean Connor and Damien Richardson. I feel the show during its six-month run has become stale, sterile and static. It is one of the most boring sports programmes I have ever had the misfortune to watch and I must admit that in recent weeks I have switched over to the second edition of ‘Coronation Street’ on Monday nights such is the drip-dry nature of the football fare.
So far the MNS show has failed to show the highlights of ONE First Division game, a fact that is hard to understand to say the very least. When TV3 had the rights to show eircom league soccer they had their critics, and rightly so, but to give the independent station its due they did from time to time show the goals from the important ‘second’ division and discussed the importance of those goals.
MNS on the other hand have never mentioned the First Division, and to make matters worse from time to time they don’t even broadcast the results from the previous week or mention the fixtures for the next weekend.
The panellists’ attempts at humour leave quite a lot to be desired as well. Long-time football followers would love to see well-informed former players have a chance to appear and make their views known. Here in Waterford for example we have two legends who would prove to be a huge asset to the show, namely Alfie Hale and Johnny Matthews, who still watch League of Ireland football on a regular basis.
Needless to say there are many former players like Alfie and Johnny all over the country. The idea of using sacked Dublin-based managers as panellists has run its course. A ‘Where are they Now’ piece would also add greatly to the programme if RTÉ have any plans to spice it up. Soccer lovers would enjoy finding out what great players such as Brendan Bradley, Johnny Fulham, Bobby Gilbert and David Pugh are doing today and also get their views on the current state of the game in this country.
We all know that LOI football is in a right old mess at the moment. Already this season clubs like Sligo Rovers, Galway United, Cork City and of course Waterford United have almost gone to the wall. The latest crazy situation has occurred at Cobh Ramblers. They are believed to be in debt to the tune of €150,00 and as a result the club asked all of their players to take out a €2,000 loan and hand the cash over to the club to help offset the debts!
Something like this could only happen in Ireland. Surely this situation should be dealt with by MNS in great detail but all we will get is the ‘informed’ views of Collins, Connor and Richardson. I don’t think the FAI would like an in-depth investigation into the situation at St Colman’s Park and there perhaps is the answer to the poor and boring show that we are asked to watch on Monday nights.
From my own point of view I will continue to follow the fortunes of Norris, Rita and Jack Duckworth down on Coronation Street instead. Don’t you just miss Vera so much!