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Swan flew over the cuckoo's nest

Telling Cardiff fans to “fuck off” may have been the height of stupidity, but Lee Trundle still deserves an Ireland call-up.

Tony Cascarino, 12 Apr 2006

If there was a prize for ‘Idiot Of The Season’, it’d have to go to Lee Trundle for the way he celebrated Swansea’s Football League Trophy victory against Carlisle.

I’m all for a bit of bravado, but brandishing a flag that says “Cardiff Fuck Off” will only fuel what’s often been a violent rivalry between the two sets of supporters.

Grabbing a flag from somebody in the stands mightn’t have been pre-meditated, but wearing a t-shirt that depicts a Swansea player urinating on a Cardiff City player was.

Possible police action aside, Trundle is inviting a disgruntled Cardiff fan to come up to him in a club or Sainsbury’s or wherever, and have a pop. Then there’s the scenario of Swansea winning promotion next season to the Championship and him having to play at Ninian Park, a ground not renowned for its Corinthian spirit. Short of painting a target on his back, he couldn’t have done anything more hazardous to his well-being.

Gross stupidity or not, it’d be a shame if Trundle’s actions dissuaded Steve Staunton from calling him into the next Ireland squad.

I’m shocked that no Premiership side took a gamble on him during the transfer window because, although not the quickest, he’s good in the air, isn’t afraid to take people on and scores some clever goals. Robbie Keane would relish the quality crosses he puts into the box, and he’s also one of the best holder-ups of the ball I’ve seen outside of the top flight. With Kevin Doyle getting better by the game at Reading, it’d give Stan some exciting attacking options.

A former Ireland player making the sporting headlines this week is Niall Quinn. I hadn’t been aware that he was trying to put a consortium together to buy Sunderland, but he’s a shrewd cookie who’s done extremely well in the racing world and knows a lot of wealthy Irish guys who might be prepared to invest. I can certainly imagine him being very upbeat and persuasive when giving his sales pitch.

Niall’s come a long way from his early days as a player when the only financial interests he had were in what happened at the bookies! I was the better general punter while he won hands down on the horses.

The Birmingham chairman, David Sullivan, has been criticised for saying his players aren’t worth their wages, but given that City went and drew a few days later with Chelsea I think it was a bit of a masterstroke. If you’re on £40,000 a week, you can afford to have your feelings hurt once in a while!

It was mild stuff compared to what Bernard Tapie used to say and do to us at Marseilles. There was one time after an away defeat when he invited the heads of the Winners, Yankees and ‘84 Ultra groups to come onto the bus and give us a talk, which consisted of all the dreadful things they’d do to us if we lost again the following week. Never in the history of football has there been such a collective pulling out of fingers!

Sticking with France, I was disappointed to hear that Zinedine Zidane has been branded “a traitor to his race” by an Algerian immigrant group who wanted him to side with them over the riots. If Zidane comes out and makes a statement in their favour, he’s going to have every Front National supporter in the country baying for his and his family’s blood, which – given the far-right’s strength in France – is a very dangerous situation to be in. He’s a quiet, unassuming man who’s already done his bit for the Algerian cause by becoming one of the best players of his generation.

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