Six of the best (again)

If the title of this post looks familiar, that’s because it should be. The original title for my first column for Tramore Hinterland was ‘Six of the Best’, but the editor added ‘Simply’ to the front. I spoke to my wife about this because I thought the meaning of the original was obvious but when even she didn’t get it I had to admit that the reference was just too obscure. It refers to the euphemism used in comics like the Beano or, in my case, Buster for corporal punishment – not that the euphemism concealed the nature of the deed as we would get to see the teacher’s ghastly bamboo-like cane or Dennis the Menace’s dad wielding his slipper with purple-veined fury written all over his face.

And ‘six of the best’ was what Waterford United got last night at the hands of Wexford Youths. I wrote a few weeks back about the difficulty of getting people excited about a league where the other seven teams have all the allure of drying paint. Underpinning that post was the notion that of the eight teams in the First Division, the Blues were a cut above the rest – we played Manchester United when they launched their defence of the European Cup, you know – and they’d all be delighted to see the Blues coming to town. It’s looking like I was right, but for the wrong reason – they’ll be delighted to see us as we’re three easy points. I wasn’t planning to go the Limerick game next Friday – Mass Effect 3 is out people, MASS EFFECT 3!! – but now it would look like I was staying away because they’re going to get stuffed. No, that would never be the reason . . .

It’s all very well going on about the financial constraints under which a Waterford manager must operate, but there was nothing in the second half of last season to suggest Paul O’Brien is a huge improvement on Stephen Henderson, and the example of Norwich City sacking Bryan Gunn after a six-goal shellacking from Colchester United in the opening game of the season three years ago then going on to successive promotions under Paul Lambert – Colchester’s manager that day; come on Mick Wallace, you know you want to* – must loom large. Things will need to improve dramatically against Limerick, surely the early promotion favourites, if he is to survive as manager.

*I know Mick Wallace is not the Youths manager. Poetic licence, okay?