Great story in Tuesday’s edition of the Irish Star – and yes, they do pay my weekly wages so I’ll probably tell you that every story in the Star is a great story.

They are, by the way, even some of the ones I come up with and that’s a statement that will really annoy all my mates out in the Bronx. But life, as last week’s column might have suggested, is too short to be worrying about such things.

So back to the Star and the latest escapade in the mad, mad world of one Wayne Rooney and his WAG – the nickname given to the wives and girlfriends of sports stars -- wife Coleen, both of whom come from families with strong Irish backgrounds in case you’re worried.

BTW you should be worried, if only because they are giving us a bad name again. That’s a potential problem when you consider that their son Kai is actually eligible to play for Ireland. Remember where you heard that one first!

As of now Wayne and Coleen, fresh from the latest prostitute shagging scandal to hit their glossy magazine marriage, are trying to patch things up. As you do.

A devout Catholic, Coleen has decided nonetheless to forgive Wayne for sleeping with not one but two young ladies of the night while she was pregnant with their only child -- the two of them at the same time on one occasion, as it happened.

So this weekend, while Manchester United were laboring to a 2-1 win at Stoke City after another week of lurid Rooney headlines, Wayne and Coleen did Dubai -- and in their own inimitable style at that.
Aside from attempting to rekindle their romance, they had a lot to celebrate.

Less than a week after telling United boss Alex Ferguson that his club lacked ambition and telling the world that he wanted away, Rooney signed a new five year contract last Friday worth a staggering $350,000 a week.

In the lead up to the deal, he also demanded of United’s American owners that they will give Ferguson money to spend in the January transfer window -- which they did in order to get his signature on that piece of paper.
And he told the majority of his teammates that they aren’t good enough to match his standards in a team which Rooney feels is going nowhere fast.

So what did Ruin-ey get for throwing his rattle out of the pram?

That incredible contract and the proof that he might be the most powerful man at Old Trafford, even though Ferguson got to keep his best player and get much needed transfer loot into the bargain.

How did the Rooneys celebrate? At a seven-star hotel on the golden sands of Dubai where their chicken nuggets and chips lunch at the pool cost them all of $35 a head, according to Tuesday’s Star.

That food choice was interesting, but what was really priceless were the quotes from a fellow hotel resident, the wife of a stockbroker by all accounts.

She didn’t cop that the “chicken and chip” brigade were the Rooneys -- until Coleen drank a jug of lager straight from the jug. At least she lifted it by the handle, according to the eyewitness.

So you see, money can buy the modern football superstar anything he wants, even the forgiveness of his WAG wife. But it just can’t buy you class. Or a glass!

Think about that the next time you buy Manchester United merchandise and help to pay for Coleen Rooney’s beers in the sun.

Mourning an octopus

Part of my summer died on Tuesday. Well, to be more precise, an Octopus who lit up my cold “summer” in South Africa passed away, apparently of natural causes.

You might remember Paul. He was the psychic Octopus who lived in a German water park and made a name for himself as something of a match prediction expert in June and July.

There wasn’t a game went by involving the Germans at this summer’s World Cup when the attention didn’t focus on Paul and his psychic predictions.

The world lapped it up as Paul the Psychic Octopus got it right for every German match in the finals and a few more to boot.

Paul called it right when Germany put England out. He called it right when they sent Argentina packing.
He even got it right when they lost to Spain in the Durban semifinal, even though most of his German fans wanted to throttle him after that one.

Even when it came to the final itself, Paul told us before the match that Spain would win and by a single goal. They did.

As Stefan Porwoll, manager of the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in Germany where Paul lived, put it, “His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself.”

Indeed it did. The Spanish loved him so much than a small fishing town made a bid to buy him and turn him into the king of their annual prawn festival but the Germans wouldn’t sell for any money.

Sadly Paul died on Tuesday, of natural causes according to those who loved him and will probably live off his fame forever.

The Aqua Park owners, you see, are already profiting from a wide range of Paul the Psychic Octopus merchandise and they plan to erect a memorial to his World Cup exploits on site.

Personally, I’d like to pass my condolences on to Paul’s family.

There were times in South Africa when he gave us all a good life, times when he provided a welcome relief from what was a mundane World Cup on more than one occasion.

Paul may be gone but he won’t be forgotten. Promise.

Sideline Views

SOCCER: Big news from Wales -- FIFA are finally going to investigate goal-line technology and are already talking to interested parties about a fool-proof system to decide once and for all if a goal has or hasn’t been scored. It won’t make any difference to that Thierry Henry inspired goal in Paris -- and it wouldn’t have anyway because the technology is only to decide whether or not the ball has crossed the line -- but at least it’s a start. This amazing news came at a meeting of the International Football Board in Cardiff this week, but many of the top FIFA brass weren’t there. They’re busy investigating claims that some of their sort offered to sell their votes in the race to decide the hosts of the 2018 World Cup. Imagine that!

SOCCER: Ever wonder what happened to David James, England goalkeeper in the aforementioned World Cup defeat to Germany? Well, after turning down Celtic he’s now the netminder for Bristol City as they struggle to avoid the drop from the Championship in England. Want to know how James went from the biggest tournament in the world to a relegation battle in the second tier of English football? Apparently he was still drunk on the morning after his stag party when then City boss Steve Coppell rang and asked him to sign. At least James has been honest enough to admit that drink is the cause of his current dilemma. There are many footballers who could take a leaf from his book.

SOCCER: John Aldridge was in Dublin on Tuesday to promote his new book, and claimed in his time among us that Giovanni Trapattoni is doing a great job with Ireland and doesn’t deserve the stick that followed the embarrassing defeat to Russia and the draw with Slovakia last month. I can only hope the book is better than his analysis of Ireland’s current plight in world football.

HURLING: The Tipperary County Board are doing their best to distance themselves from stories that prodigal son Nicky English is set to return as county boss. They have to be cautious, but the word on the street is that not alone will English succeed Liam Sheedy with the All-Ireland champions, but Tommy Dunne and Declan Ryan will act as his selectors.

BOXING: Memo to Andy Lee and John Duddy -- please get it on in the Garden, so to speak. Please don’t do it on New Year’s Day. Any time later in January might give me a chance to be there. And I’d even pay to see that fight.


Bohs threw the Airtricity League title away when they lost to Galway on Friday night, but Shamrock Rovers kept their end up with a priceless win against Drogheda. If they beat Bray this Friday, then Rovers will win the League for the first time in 16 years and finally right the wrong of Milltown. Their fans will know what I mean.


Just 32,000 people turned up for the Compromise Rules series between Ireland and Australia in Limerick on Saturday night and were treated to a dreadful bore. Just 40,000 are expected at Croke Park this Saturday night for the second leg. And there are still some people in the GAA who think this sport deserves a future!