2014 started off like any other year. January. I hate January. Not many people don’t. With a biting wind lashing across the land not everyone was up for it. Not every international assistant was up for it.
I was. I learned the trick of creating atmosphere in my own head back on the FAS course. Now going to places like The City Ground you could hear a pin drop. Except for me. I heard a 60,000 roaring crowd. I was going to show those Dublin w**kers who could observe a game.
I was there to see Andy Reid. Andy had been an outcast from the early days of the Trapattoni era. A Dublin lad. I generally don’t like Dublin lads.
Too cocky and in your face. I had signed Andy back when I was with Sunderland but hadn’t had much contact with him as I was rarely at the training ground but I had gotten to know him better from our week together in the lovely Portmarnock Hotel.
I had heard he liked a pint and a sing song. Hello? I thought. Andy had been setting the Championship alight and Martin had requested I go down to Nottingham to take a look. Some of the fans recognised me from my days with Forest. One guy came up to me and said: “Alright big man. When you going to be assistant manager at a big team?”
“I am with a big team,” I said. “Big man? He was looking down on me!”
“Nah! A REALLY big team,” he said.
I loved that. The Nottingham humour.
The Club had given me a ticket for the Brian Clough stand. I took my seat. Who comes down and sits next to me? Only fooking Mick McCarthy! He was there to see Andy too. He wanted to sign him for Ipswich. “For f**k sake,” I thought as he took his seat.
Andy was playing well. He had Barnsley on the ropes. Was making crosses and playing lovely passes through the defence. Then in the 64th minute Andy went down clutching his ankle. He had lost his footing in the bumpy Nottingham turf.
“That pitch is like a car park,” I said.
“No it’s not Roy,” answered Mick.
“It’s got pot holes in it,” I added.
“Roy it’s fine,” says your man.
“Andy Reid just broke his ankle on it. It’s dangerous Mick. You’re a liar.”
He was having none of it: “No he hasn’t. he’s faking it, look!”
“Faking it??? What do you mean faking it???” I asked.
“He’s faking it to get out of the Serbia game. You’d know all about that Roy.
“You faked injuries you did.”
I raged: “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”
“I said you faked injuries.”
I had had enough of this imposter. I grabbed him by his lapels and flung him over the balcony of the upper tier into the crowd below. There was blood everywhere. But fook it. He’s done my head in.