Sports commentator Eamon Dunphy will always be a thug


Eamon Dunphy pictured at the launch of his new book in Dublin this week.
Eamon Dunphy pictured at the launch of his new book in Dublin this week.

The penny is dropping at last with the Irish public about Eamon Dunphy, and some people are finally starting to see the light as regards the egotistical and self-absorbed failed footballer.

Dunphy has been hitting headlines of late with the same frequency he used to hit bars and nightclubs all across Dublin. And all for his own gain.

He has a book to promote, a book outlining his rather pathetic life, and he will use any means, foul or fair, to promote it.

He was even so outrageous as to announce during RTE television’s coverage of the Ireland-Germany game last Friday night that he was signing copies of the tome the next day in a well known Dublin bookshop – without any admonishment from his sidekick presenter Bill O’Herlihy.

Now I know that the self-confessed cocaine user is seen as the beacon of greatness by many in Irish life, but the joke is starting to run out for many ordinary, decent folk.

His latest antics prove it.  On radio the other day he had a go at me for standing up to him when he provoked Jack Charlton into a row at a World Cup press conference in 1990.

Jack took exception to Dunphy’s presence at said press conference before the Holland game, days after he had said he was ashamed to be Irish, such was the nature of the scoreless draw with Egypt.

What Dunphy didn’t explain, then or in his book, is that he stopped me and many other journalists, real journalists who learned our trade the proper way and not on a lower division football pitch in England, doing our job that day.

I had a supplement to fill for my employer at the time, and Dunphy’s incitement of Charlton put my job at risk.

Sure he was entitled to ask a question of Jack, but real journalists acknowledge that Sunday papers -- and Dunphy worked for one at the time -- let the daily guys do their job, and then wade in.

What he also fails to tell us in his latest book -- discredited as unreliable by greater people than me including

George Best’s family -- is that he came back to the press center in Italy that night and wanted to fight me.
Clearly under the influence, he threatened me with physical violence and was stopped only by the intervention of the late and great Dr. Tony O’Neill, then the secretary of the Football Association of Ireland.

That’s why I can never take Dunphy seriously. He wanted a row that night purely because I didn’t toe his party line at the press conference earlier that day.

I did, as his book suggests, tell an English colleague to “f**k off” back to England when all hell broke out after Jack had stormed out of the press conference.

What Eamon doesn’t tell you in his inaccurate book is that I apologized to Ian Ridley not an hour later and remain on friendly terms with him ever since.

As a proper journalist, Ian acknowledged the pressure I was under to fill a tabloid supplement with no copy from a press conference ruined by an opinionated Sunday columnist on a Wednesday – the day before the final game in the World Cup group.

Dunphy has held that World Cup rebuke against me ever since, so much so that he libelled me in a Sunday Independent column for outing the FAI as ticket touts.  Again, all I was going was my job but that never matters as far as he is concerned.

Everything with Dunphy has to suit his agenda. And everyone else is wrong.

But what really galls me about Dunphy’s book is his condescending attitude to the late Con Houlihan, the greatest sports writer this country has ever produced.

Grumpy Dunphy refers to Con in his book as a “hack,” a disgraceful description of a man who could write Dunphy under the table in just one sentence.

Con’s sin was to stand up to Dunphy on Eoin Hand’s behalf in the mid-1980s, at a time when the failed footballer was already doing what he does best – picking on Irish football managers.

He claims in his book that Con elbowed him in the face at a match in Lansdowne Road, a claim many of my colleagues say is utter fabrication.