Dublin: 5°C Thursday 2 December 2021

Another Ferguson, the turbulent life of Eamonn Magee and the rest of the week's best sportswriting

Stick the kettle on and treat yourself to a taste of what the internet had to offer this week.

Image: EMPICS Sport

1.Khaled pointed to a door with a security camera above it and told her to enter. Inside she found a smoke-filled room with three desks pushed next to one another, a woman seated behind each. Behind them, written out cleanly on a dry-erase board, were the words brunette, blonde, asian, redhead. . . . It was all too clear, too real. She was at an escort service.”

Before she became a rising star of US sprinting, Deshae Wise first had to escape a world in which her mother was beaten and used against her will daily for six years, writes Jeremy Fuchs for Sports Illustrated.


It’s hard to feel serene now. Each time Magee’s phone interrupts us, with its Who Let The Dogs Out? ringtone, I scan his beaten-up face, wondering if it’s a call to tell him a paramilitary gunman is on his way… “As a way of changing the subject I point to his beer. He has been drinking since he was nine and the book makes clear he is a high‑functioning alcoholic but does he ever wish he could kick the bottle?“I tried rehab,” he eventually says, pausing again with comic timing before breaking into the Amy Winehouse song. “And I said, ‘No, no, no!’”

Former world champion boxer Eamonn Magee has upset many people you don’t want to upset around Belfast, Donald McRae made the trip to Ardoyne to meet him for The Guardian.

3. “Talk to white players who play for a black coach and they will tell you that the color of their coach’s skin does not matter. Of course it doesn’t matter, why should it matter?

“Talk to African-American players who play for a black coach and they will tell you that the colour of their coach’s skin matters deeply, powerfully, necessarily and unavoidably. Of course it matters, it has to matter, it’d better matter, you’re damn right it matters, because it matters, just for starters, to them.

For The Undefeated, Tom Jundo goes in search of the real Mike Tomlin.

4. “You might call it the Russell Westbrook of sports books. When it’s good, it’s mind-expandingly good. And when it’s bad (like the scene where Shields takes on the qualities of Sonics guard Gary Payton while having sex with his wife), it makes you feel like you picked the wrong hero.”


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Bryan Curtis looks back at a book chronicling the Seattle SuperSonics in the ’90s, for The Ringer

5. “Keady…

“Keady… Keady.”

“Joe Canning, Galway’s greatest hurler on the greatest day of his career, gave Shannon another hug as they listened to Tony’s name echoing across the pitch and towards them both from the Hill.”

A moving extract from Liam Hayes‘ biography of the great Tony Keady.

6.  “There was another Ferguson, very different from how he appears on television or in the press. He was not always living up to the caricature: the flint-faced authority figure, menacingly chewing his gum, pointing to his stopwatch, little red puffs of toxic smoke coming out of his ears. The time, for example, one of the journalists on his patch, John Bean, suffered a heart attack and the first contact he had from the outside world was a nurse bringing him a bunch of flowers, with Ferguson’s spidery handwriting asking “What have you been doing to yourself, you silly old tap dancer?”

Last Sunday morning was a difficult time to write anything about Alex Ferguson with news of his brain haemorrhage still raw, but the Guardian’s Manchester-based football reporter Daniel Taylor did a superb job writing this portrait of United’s greatest manager. 

‘It’s been overwhelming how many people care and are thinking of my dad’

Ex-Munster prop Mullen and outgoing Ulster stalwart Black a step closer to Test debut with USA

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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