The Gaffer Tapes


Fergus O’Flaherty

The Irish footballing legend has been the hot tip to be new boss of Celtic, still reeling (as we say in Sport) after being denied a 10th consecutive title by their resurgent Glasgow rivals, Rangers. However, it has to be admitted, an invitation to meet the board has yet to come even though its nine weeks after Neil Lennon’s dismissal. No one doubts O’Flaherty’s pedigree or his hunger for glory but at his former clubs clashes with fellow players, coaches, directors and fans (plus the bus driver on a bad day) were not unknown. Has he the man management skills to emulate the silky insouciance (Eh? — Ed) of his Ibrox rival, Stevie Gerrard? Here he shares a few thoughts on his interview technique (should the interview ever come):

Look, you lot! There’s two things I hate: the fucking press and directors  So if any of you wankers gives me a hard time I’ll have you behind the Jimmy McGrory stand and hand out such a clogging that it will make Riverdance seem like a Viennese Waltz. And as for the team and the fucking supporters...

Hang on. What’s that? Eddie Howe’s got the job.  Ahem, I back Eddie all the way. I’m all for reaching out to the directors, players and the fans so that they may unite in making Celtic once again the envy of Scotland, Europe and the world. And if Mr Howe would consider me in some sort of back room role I’d shed a tear to affirm I’d be humbled by both the enormity of the task and the inspiration that leads us on. As my old granny down in Meath used to say: Faugh a Ballagh! Excuse me now...I’ve got to put the cones out.

Vinnie Samuels

Like his father before him, Vinnie presides over an international sports promotion empire from a blue-washed mansion/office overlooking the M25 in Essex. 

Fast-talking, quick-thinking Vinnie is known as a smart operator, equally at home at the Crucible, Sheffield or Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Not much happens in the world of prize snooker or international boxing without him knowing. He also keeps a canny eye on darts and poker. 

Here he talks to Drone Sport:

I love my boys, I do, knowwhamean? Whether they’re in a fancy wescoat or a championship belt they’re mine somehow. I feels responsible for ‘em. Like their dad, I suppose, although I’m only 39. 

Sometimes I have to keep em in line, swelp me. Steve Davis. Grannies love him but, although he’s made 33 million quid from the game he can still kick off, you know. One word from me, though, knowhamean? 

And that Lenny Livid. When he’s outa line I looks him straight in the belly button (only havin a giraffe: I’m not that short-arsed) and gives him a free character reading. 

But although I love the bantz with the boys, it’s the deals which really ring my old dingdong. Emails at 3am, tough talking on Zoom, tying up a contract on one of my iPhone 14s while taking the kids to school. Squillions! Magic!

Giancarlo Esposito 

Esposito left a Serie B club in Italy last summer to manage a team in the lower reaches of the Premier League. Things haven’t been going too well and have, perhaps, been exacerbated by his lack of English. Now, though, after months of intensive instruction by the chairman’s daughter, he is ready to address the media, including Drone Sport, for the first time in his adopted language. 

‘Ciao, senores. Well, no es facile being boss in the Prem especially when Jurgen and team come over you klopping. See. I make-a the joke in ze English. Never walk alone, no?

But no joke Saturday. I call extra training. I tell lads need to tighten the back up, make set pieces happen for us, kicka the pens. I warn clear mass out in next window. 

No, don’t do good so far but chairman he tell me he vote confident. Daughter very lively to me. Teaches happy English. One on one. Papa he no so pleased. 

Scusi, senores. Telephon e mobile. Text it say come special teatime with directors. Change new direction. Basics go back. Who Big Sam? Andiamo!

Willie Wombat

Wombat is a taciturn, tell-it-as-it-is, take-no-prisoners rugby coach who taciturnly tells it as it is, takes no prisoners and coaches rugby. He has had varied and inconsistent results in charge of the England rugby team which regularly under-achieves on the world stage. Here, he reflects on a disappointing Six Nations, his hopes for the future and his ethos for winning rugby.

Playing fields of Eton? Fuck that! More like Savai’i Savisito College, Samoa. Now we’re drinking from the same billabong, mate. A coupla brick shithouses up front, maybe another at 13. Unlucky for some, eh? Specially those fancy damn frogs. Pain? We don’t feel it (but they do!) Aggression? That’s what it’s all about: in the scrum, at the breakdown and in the bar afterwards. Rugby on the fucking edge is what I call it. Penalty try? No worries. We’ll risk it to gain an advantage. My skipper needs to be in the ref’s ear with a bit of kidology trying to get decisions our way. Spin the ball wide, if you like; let the fairies dance down the wing. Me? I prefer a rolling maul crashing over between the posts with the opposition front row in tears. And if the blazers at HQ don’t like it, do you know what: they can do the other thing. Now pick the fucking bones out of that! G’day.

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