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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 26 April, 2019

Everything but the Ferg: Some of the week’s best sportswriting

Get the kettle on and check this lot out.

AS THE LEGION of Doom said: what a rush. That was some week in the wacky world of sports… but if you want reflections on Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United reign, you’re in the wrong place.

We rounded up some of the best writing on that particular event here.  Below is everything else that caught our eye.

1. “Cabin fever had certainly begun to set in, in the week after the operation. Home and Away was my staple diet for that time off, but when I started to watch the same episode twice a day, I knew I was on a slippery slope. I am proud to say that I never tuned in to watch Jeremy Kyle or Dr. Phil, but it wasn’t long until I hit rock bottom; Telly Bingo. It wasn’t long after this that I felt it was time to get back to work.”

Cork footbakker Colm O’Neill on his recovery from a second cruciate injury on the GAA Just Play side.

2. “Kimmage has worked on rebuilding his career after losing his job with the Sunday Times in January 2012. He has been working on Gerard Vroomen’s iPad magazine 2r. He was also planning projects with Brown and Cyclismas, including a personal website, a series of long interviews that he would carry out with big names in the sport which would run on Cyclismas and also, potentially, a Tour de France magazine-type analysis show that would run on a long-running website each day of the race.  In recent months Kimmage met Brown on several occasions, both in Girona where the Canadian now lives, and also in Ireland when the latter travelled over in late April to attend a talk Kimmage and fellow Irish journalist David Walsh gave to a large crowd.

On that trip Brown and his family were shown around by Kimmage, and also looked after in other ways. ‘I couldn’t put them up in my home as my son was having his 21st, but I paid for their stay in a hotel in Dublin Airport,’ Kimmage said.

Have questions about the whole Paul Kimmage Defence Fund drama in recent days? Shane Stokes manages to answer them in this comprehensive piece.

3. “The first time I met him was outside a modest but popular bar called L’Angolo in the posher part of Stockholm. My best friend was DJ-ing that night, probably a mix of mild house and odd techno tunes, and the bar was in the same building, just a few floors down from the Croatian Embassy. Outside the embassy, in a corner of the bar, sat Goran Ljubojević and Ivan Turina, new signings to a team on the brink of implosion and relegation on the heels of a treble-winning season. Six months later, Goran left, tearing up his contract in mutual consent, saying: ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t help you with more goals, but I can help by not taking your money when I leave.’ And Ivan, well, Ivan stayed. I haphazardly thanked them both that night for coming to our rescue with an embarrassed laugh. They laughed in return, thanked me for the support, and Ivan went back to drinking his wine (as Croatians do) and smoking his cigar.”

AIK goalkeeper, Ivan Turina died suddenly this week; Özgür Kurtoglu remembers the Croatian goalkeeper in this lovely piece.

4. “As for my temerity in even making the call to check – well, I haven’t felt this impertinent since I asked the FA what David Beckham’s role was within the England camp during the 2010 World Cup, and was told by its sniffy press chief that it could only be explained “off the record”. I suppose I could come up with a way to get around these draconian restrictions, just as broadcasters did by having Gerry Adams voiced by an actor for all those years. Maybe I could disclose the tenor of my conversations with football club press officers via the medium of interpretative dance, or render them allegorically in pipecleaners.

In the end, though, I count myself lucky that my job mostly exists at several removes from them. I am not dependent on the kindnesses of football’s institutions in order to write opinion. I can’t imagine the whimsical chain of events that would ever see me invited to become a member of the Football Writers’ Association – and I imagine the Football Writers’ Association feels that loss even less keenly than I do.”

Your friend and mind, Marina Hyde, on Newcastle United banning journalists from St James’ and the football world’s non-reaction.

‘Everyone wants to go out on their own terms’: Fergie’s farewell gives BOD plenty to ponder

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