Eamon Dunphy - genius or gobshite?

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

'You're never going to win a popularity contest writing about football, but if you write with conviction, if you write from the heart, if you're passionate about the game, readers will sense that and be prepared to have their own beliefs challenged'

Best known for his sweeping statements and scathing reviews - Eamon Dunphy is widely regarded as Ireland's best football pundit. The former Millwall midfielder is part of RTÉ's football analysis panel, which is without doubt the best in the business.

Bill O'Herlihy is the ringmaster and knows how to push Dunphy's buttons; Johnny Giles is his sparring partner after years of working together the trio have built up great camaraderie. Graham Souness is the newest edition to the panel and fits right in, with the boys, replacing Liam Brady who left to become assistant manager to Giovanni Trapattoni.

Brady's most memorable appearance on the panel had to be when he went head-to-head with Dunphy over a piece of footage regarding Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger. He certainly isn't the first to feel the brunt of Dunphy's outbursts, and won't be the last.

Dunphy is a box-office hit, and is a man who has traded in controversy since becoming a pundit in 1978. However, if marmite was a person, then it would no doubt be this man. Love him or hate him, Dunphy is not afraid to speak his mind and to stand up for what he believes in, even if sometimes his logic is flawed.

A prime example of this was his constant criticism of then Manchester United player Cristiano Ronaldo. Frequently calling him 'a puffball', 'a cod', 'a brat' and 'a disgrace'. 'He'll never be a player as long as he has a hole in his arse'

However, more recently, he backed down, saying in his weekly column in The Irish Daily Star - "I couldn't have been more wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo". He further claimed that Ronaldo "looks like the real deal", and concluded by saying: "Ronaldo is something special. I was wrong".

But this is not really a shock, Dunphy making a u-turn. He was the ghost-writer of Roy Keane's autobiography and defended the now Ipswich manager after his departure from both Saipan in 2002, and from Manchester United in 2005.

Now, Dunphy is more against Keane than for him. Once again using his newspaper column to portray this - ‘Clearly, Keane doesn’t have the personality to be in charge and I really think that this will be his last job in management.

The man is a cult-figure on Irish TV and doesn't just ply his trade in football analysis; there was the moment he cried on the Late Late Show and his outbursts on Frontline. If something is making the news, there is no doubt this man will have an opinion on it.

I believe Dunphy does have some valid opinions, but at times they a flawed and biased. Sometimes he can be seen more as a comedy figure, rather than a cult one. This can almost certainly be seen when he takes on Graham Souness, who he tells he dosen't know what he's talking about. Souness replys 'Where did you ever manage?' to which Dunphy quipped back 'I didn't manage anywhere, I managed to stay alive for 63 and a half years, baby'

Dunphy is a class act in what he does, but sometimes there is a line and he crosses it, his views can be biased but it's the fact that when he believes in something he will stick it to the bitter end.

Therefore, for me, Eamon Dunphy is a genius.


Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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