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Roy Keane, Jack Charlton and Eamon Dunphy feature in our World Cup '94 newspaper review

A look back at how Ireland were covered before, during and after the competition.

Updated at 19.19


This article is a part of The42′s USA 94 Week, a special series of commemorative features to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Fifa World Cup. To read more from the series, click here >

1. Jack Charlton and Billy Bingham’s bust-up

The 7 October edition of the Evening Herald reviews Jack Charlton’s World Cup diaries and explains an argument that developed between himself and then-Northern Ireland boss Billy Bingham. During their heated World Cup qualifier, following Jimmy Quinn’s opening goal, someone from the Northern Ireland bench shouted “up yours” in the Republic’s direction. Charlton says he had to calm down assistant Maurice Setters at that moment. Following the final whistle though, when Bingham congratulated Charlton on his side’s qualification, Charlton pointed his finger at the opposition manager and said: “Up yours too.”

2. Conflicting opinions on Charton

Two letters in the July 8 edition of the Irish Independent sum up the contrasting feelings surrounding Jack Charlton after the World Cup. Derry Kelleher from Greystones, County Wicklow praises Charlton, arguing that the team have “done a massive public relations job for Irish trade and tourism,” also praising his “acknowledgement of the competence of the Irish exiles and their progeny since the famine. The Manager of the NI team called them mercenaries whilst ignoramuses, further south, use terms such as runners-in or blow-ins, even to the extent of telling them to blow-out or blow-up”.

Meanwhile, Richard Early from Monkstown, County Cork hits out at Charlton for his “unremarkable” footballing ability, suggesting he secured a World Cup winner’s medal by being “in the right place at the right time”. He claims that Charlton’s coaching style of play is “dull and defensive,” adding that the team have achieved success “beyond that which they have really merited” by preventing “the opposition from playing”.

3. Dunphy puts the knife in

In 26 October edition of the Irish Press, there was an article reporting Eamon Dunphy’s comments on the Joe Duffy radio show that Charlton should quit as Ireland manager. Dunphy was quoted as saying: “I think for football reasons he should go but he won’t go, he’ll be around. But I think this will reflect on him and people will look at the team’s performance in future, perhaps knowing much more about what goes on in the dressing room.” Dunphy also claimed that, contrary to popular belief, he liked Charlton as a person, saying: “Jack is a complex man, a decent man. I keep explaining this, he’s not Hitler, he’s not a killer or anything like that.” The paper also reports on the controversy surrounding journalist Paul Rowan’s book ‘The Team That Jack Built,’ in which there is a difference of opinion between the author and the manager over whether some of the latter’s published comments were on or off the record.


4. Charlton’s special relationship

An article in the 18 June edition of the Irish Press focuses on the “special relationship” between Charlton and his right-hand man Maurice Setters. The paper reports: “One of Setters’ favourite stories is how he switched on his television one tea-time and saw Jack on the news. “Bloody hell,” said Setter to himself. “What’s he done now?” Jack had walked out of Newcastle United, effectively putting Setters, as his No. 2, out of work. “Ooh, sorry Maurice,” he said later. “I forgot about you.” Much the same thing had happened at Sheffield Wednesday. The article also discusses the possibility of Ireland winning the World Cup. “When Charlton was asked after qualifying whether Ireland could win the World Cup, he tried to play down expectations. “Don’t be daft,” he said. Setters has not such inhibitions. “I think it is within our bounds. I don’t think anybody can beat us when we are on top of our game. Brazil are an unknown quantity and Mexico will be one of our toughest tests because we don’t know much about them and the climate will suit them better.”

5. Charlton and Blatter’s difference of opinion

A 23 June edition of the Irish Independent details a row between Charlton and then general secretary of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, over getting water onto the pitch for Irish players. Blatter reprimanded Charlton for interfering in issues that he believed should not have been of concern to him. “Mr Charlton is trying to run things more than just his team,” Blatter is quoted as saying. “It seems to be the way he motivates his team.” Charlton responded: “I was only looking after the interests of my players as their manager. It’s up to me to look after them. It was well within my rights to bring the water matter up. It was important to us and we got it sorted out.”

6. British papers hone in on Ireland

A piece in the 16 June edition of the Irish Examiner focuses on British newspapers’ reaction to Ireland’s World Cup success. The article quotes a passage from a piece in The Times. “All 22 players in the Irish squad play for English and Scottish clubs and their accents and culture are South London and Scottish. Some of them have traditional Irish names but others such as Cascarino are more ‘O’Really than O’Reilly’. All have at least a grandparent who is Irish but because of the Irish diaspora this is not a testing racial qualification.”

7. Golf storm

A piece in the 6 July edition of the Connacht Telegraph notes how Charlton lifted a ban on his players playing golf after they qualified for the World Cup knockout stages following a 0-0 draw with Norway, though a “vicious thunderstorm” meant that Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, David Kelly and Alan McLoughlin could only play three holes. The article then continues on a different note with a personal anecdote from its author: “I had the privilege of sitting next to [Charlton's] wife, Pat, for the game against Norway in the Giants Stadium. She told me that Jack had got word from Ballina that the salmon fishing was very good in the River Moy at the present time. They were looking forward to taking a break in Mayo once the World Cup was over. “I really love Mayo and the Mayo people. It’s a great place to unwind and relax for Jack,” she said.

Roy Keane 1994 Roy Keane, pictured here in Orlando, was considered by some people to be Ireland's outstanding player at the tournament. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

8. Giles salutes Keane

An article in the 25 June edition of the Evening Herald features a column from John Giles. He points to the heat as a decisive factor in Ireland’s defeat by Mexico, adding that “most of the team had an off day as well, with Roy Keane the only real exception. Keane was magnificent. He worked hard all through, got up and down the pitch well, and the heat didn’t seem to effect him as much as it did some of the other players.”

9. Babb in profile

The 12 June edition of The Sunday Independent features an interview with Phil Babb amid the sense that he was likely to be favoured over Alan Kernaghan to start alongside Paul McGrath against Italy. In the piece, he recounts being let go by Millwall at 19 after Bruce Rioch came in as manager. “I don’t think he fancied me as a player. It’s on a pre-season tour to Wales, we all went out, about eight of us and he sort of picked on those he didn’t want. He disliked two of us and we were given free transfers. He said we broke curfew and that was it. The other six were let off. Tells you a story, doesn’t it?”

10. Returning home

A 7 July edition of The Evening Herald referred to Gary Kelly and Jason McAteer as “hearthrobs” and described how the homecoming celebrations “drew a chorus of screams from their legion of fans — many of them teenage girls.” “We’ve been here since 6.30am waiting to see Gary — he’s absolutely gorgeous, isn’t he,” one fan is quoted as saying. “Jason is the pin-up in our bedroom. We love his good looks and his accent,” says another supporter.

11. The Keane and Setters ‘row’

The 13 June edition describes an apparent row between Roy Keane and assistant boss Maurice Setters in the Irish camp. Jack Charlton claimed reports of the row were untrue and threatened to limit the media’s access to the team, saying that they had been undermined “by certain members of the press from our own country”. The report continues: “In an amazing scene in front of the world’s press in Seminole County training complex, Charlton called upon both Setters and Keane to deny any row. The pair, with Keane looking particularly sheepish, dutifully did so in monosyllabic fashion, and an apparently satisfied Charlton declared: “There is your answer.” Keane later claimed in his first autobiography that there had been a row after Setters took charge of training one day in Charlton’s absence, with players unhappy with the intensive work they were forced to undertake in the searing heat. The subsequent problem had been instigated by captain Andy Townsend walking off the pitch and everyone else following him. “I was a much more convenient patsy [than Townsend],” Keane wrote.

Gary Kelly 1994 Gary Kelly, Jason McAteer, Phil Babb and Packie Bonner. Source: INPHO

12. A day to remember

A piece in the 24 June edition of the Munster Express describes some of the scenes at Giants Stadium prior to Ireland’s clash with Italy. The piece recalled how fans arrived in the stadium in buses, taxis and limousines, 200-250 dollars was the going-rate for tickets in the lead up to kick-off, musicians were in abundance with guitars, bag pipes and uilleann pipes playing “familiar World Cup tones,” while the Irish outnumbered the Italians by “about 10 to one”.

13. Player ratings

The 6 July edition of the Irish Press rates all of the Irish players at the tournament. Roy Keane and Phil Babb are deemed the most impressive performers, with ratings of 9.5 and 9 respectively, while Denis Irwin, Terry Phelan and John Sheridan all receive lowly 5s. On Keane, the paper reports: “Just shaded Phil Babb as the outstanding Irish player of the World Cup. Has taken on new responsibilities and not shirked his duties. His horizons in the game seem limitless.”

14. Unbelievable scenes

A piece in the 20 June edition of the Irish Examiner reports how “the city centre of Cork became one great big street party, as the multitudes, in cars or on foot, but always bedecked in green, white and gold, made their way down Patrick Street to the Grand Parade and Washington Street, which evolved into the centre of the action. The gardaí had to close up two streets to traffic as the crowd built up, but, before that, a long line of traffic hooted and flag-waved its way down the centre of Cork city. The cars hooted furiously from the prolonged and joyous “beeeeeeeep” to the ringing triumph of “beepbeep, beepbeepbeep, beep beep beep beep, Beep Beep!”

15. Aldridge sees red

The 27 June edition of The Irish Press documented John Aldridge’s reaction after a sideline outburst at a Fifa official, when his introduction as a substitute against Mexico was delayed with Ireland 2-0 down at the time. Aldridge was hit with a £1,500 fine. “I’m shocked and surprised at the punishment just as I was surprised by what the Fifa official was doing when I tried to get on against Mexico,” he said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live. “I was out of order but I think he was too, in manhandling me. If you look at the television pictures, he puts his hands on me, which you really shouldn’t do. I think it will fire the lads up what has happened to Jack [who was suspended for the Norway game]. They are trying to make an example of Ireland and Jack might have upset them with what he said about the water situation. He was quite right about that and he proved them wrong, but maybe they have taken it the wrong way.”

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Paul Fennessy

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