The Fiver — Shane Duffy’s sorry week…

Article taken from The Fiver – The Guardian

The triumphant Shane Duffy.


There’s a thin line between comedy and tragedy, supposedly. That’s what someone much smarter than the Fiver once said, anyway. But, displaying the formidable mixture of arrogance and bluster that has got us to the lofty heights of bashing out half-baked snark about people much more successful than us every day, we think that smarter person is wrong. There is, on occasion, no line at all. Take Shane Duffy, for example. The Blackeye Rovers defender has had quite a week, so let’s take it step-by-step. On Saturday, Duffy scored an own-goal in Blackburn’s 3-0 defeat to Wigan, diverting a cross into his own net, following the ball into the net by falling over himself while trying to rectify that error, failing and instead kicking the air like a giddy newborn baby. Duffy then, as you might expect, received some ‘feedback’ on the internet about this, enough ‘feedback’ that he deleted his Twitter account. Enough to keep anyone busy, but he was very far from done there.

Then on Tuesday, news emerged that Duffy (and colleague Ben Marshall) had turned down a new contract from Blackeye Rovers, offered after several bids for the defender were rejected over the summer. “I’ve spoken to both lads extensively,” said manager Owen Coyle, unwittingly providing an explanation for why they had decided against committing themselves to the club. “The only thing they can affect is their play on the field … because if you don’t perform well on the field, who’s going to want to come and buy you anyway?” Well, quite so. And Duffy took those words to heart and set about proving Coyle’s point on Wednesday night, in his own special way.

For Duffy put in a masterclass of buffoonery, a lesson in incompetence, the standard to which all future gaffe-merchants should aim. Not only did he score an own-goal to give Cardiff the lead in the 15th minute, rifling into the bottom corner with nary an attacker in sight. Not only did he score another own-goal five minutes later, a bullet header from a cross that left his goalkeeper with absolutely no chance and his team-mates wondering why the lovechild of Bobo the Clown and William Prunier was playing at centre-half. Not only that, but he then got himself sent off in potentially the most brainless manner possible, wellying the ball at an opponent’s tail in frustration, five minutes into injury time. Reports that Blackeye’s opponents on Saturday, Burton Albion, are appealing against Duffy’s subsequent suspension cannot currently be confirmed.

“I’m not going to stand here and single out players,” said Coyle after the game, rolling out the sort of understandable platitude that managers fall back upon, in order to make whoever effed up feel better. But on this occasion Coyle would have been entirely justified in saying: “I am going to stand here and single out players. Specifically, the bloke who scored two own-goals and got sent off pointlessly. Him. That guy. I’m standing here and I’m singling him out.” Coyle did describe Duffy as not “being at his best”, a Hall of Fame calibre understatement, and noted that speculation linking his hapless player with other, bigger, shinier clubs might have “turned his head”, but it looks very much like that speculation hasn’t so much turned his head as spun it right round, like a record baby, right round.

Still, at least one positive can be taken from the whole sorry experience, as Duffy has now almost certainly solved the problem of being distracted by interest from other clubs. Every cloud, and all that.

The Greatest — “Muhammad Ali changed the world, changed how people thought. There’s nobody that even remotely compares.”


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The late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once wrote of Muhammad Ali, “His impact recognises no continent, no language, no colour, no ocean. Muhammad Ali belongs to all of us.” Ali’s actions both in and out of the ring were … Continue reading

European Championships Archives—Part IV: Its Coming Home to Impossible is Nothing (England 1966 to Portugal 2004)


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As the countdown to Euro 2016 draws near, Melosport continues its European Championships archive, focusing England hosting its first major tournament for 30 years through to Greece achieving  the impossible in Portugal ————————————————————————————————- 1996 England European Championships The amended format of the finals … Continue reading

Jose Mourinho Waits in the Wings to become Manchester United Manager as the Axe Falls on Louis van Gaal


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“It’s over” muttered Louis van Gaal, Manchester United manager, when he spoke to journalists just a day after winning the FA Cup. Success at Wembley did not dampen the speculation that the Dutchman would soon be replaced by ex-Chelsea boss … Continue reading

European Championships Archive—Part III: From Platini-inspired Gallic flair to van Basten’s wonder strike and a Danish surprise (France 1984 to Sweden 1992)


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As the countdown to Euro 2016 draws near, Melosport continues its European Championships archive coverage, focusing on the golden days of Platini, van Basten and Schmeichel ——————————————————————- 1984 France European Championships The reigning World Champions, Italy, failed to qualify for Euro … Continue reading

European Championships Archive—Part II: Panenka magic breaks up West German dominance (Belgium 1972 to Italy 1980)


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As the countdown to Euro 2016 draws near, Melosport continues its European Championships archive focusing on a period where the West Germans became a footballing powerhouse. ____________________________________ 1972 Belgium European Championships Despite defending champions Italy finishing runners-up in the 1970 … Continue reading

European Championships Archive—Part I: The Swinging Sixties (France 1960 to Italy 1968)


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With this summer’s European Championships less than one month away, Melosport rounds-up the best of the archives across a five-part series. The coverage starts with the inaugural 1960 tournament hosted in France culminating with the joint Ukraine Poland 2012 show-piece … Continue reading

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With only nine league matches left to play, Leicester City sit five points clear at the summit of the Premier League table. Claudio Ranieri’s meticulously drilled side have silenced the doubters during the current campaign but can they continue their … Continue reading

Rugby World Cup 2015: Springboks silenced by Japan


After the disappointment of collecting the wooden spoon in this season’s Rugby Championship, South African plummeted to a fresh, unwelcome low with a last gasp defeat against Japan.

Eddie Jones’ well drilled Brave Blossoms were able to exploit the Springboks’ shortcomings and cue the waterworks as Japanese followers savoured one of the all-time World Cup shocks.