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Bill O'Herlihy: 'I didn't like Jack Charlton even though he could be as nice as pie'

Published 12/08/2014 | 21:17

Bill O'Herlihy
Bill O'Herlihy

Broadcast legend Bill O’Herlihy has admitted he didn't like former Irish football manager Jack Charlton, claiming he was on "the edge of rudeness".

The broadcasting legend appeared on TV3's ‘Late Lunch Live’ today where he discussed his retirement and spoke about his impressive career.

Jack Charlton in 1990 after qualifying for the quarter finals of the World Cup.
Jack Charlton in 1990 after qualifying for the quarter finals of the World Cup.

One month after signing off from broadcasting, the veteran presenter, who has anchored 10 World Cups on RTÉ- starting with the 1978 competition in Argentina- opened up about the difficulties he had in interviewing some celebrities.

“I didn’t like Jack (Charlton). Jack would have had no time for a fella like me because I didn’t play soccer at the level that he’d be bothered with. And I also had the view- this is a very personal view- that if you didn’t work for BBC or ITV or Sky, you wouldn’t quote."

“I remember many, many times John Giles got some very, very tough interviews on the side, after matches, when he talked to Jack and Jack would be anything but polite."

"He’d be at the very edge of rudeness. And I remember he (John Giles) came a few times to us and said: ‘Ah, Jack’s been at the charm school again, we can see’."

O’Herlihy told Jim McCabe and Sheana Keane of an incident with Jack Charlton that happened during a Christmas interview to emphasis his point.

“After the World Cup I had to do one more interview with him, for Christmas."

"I was about 15 minutes into it and I asked him a question, he answered, and I asked him a follow-up question when he said: ‘Stop the interview!’. I asked what was wrong.

"‘Do you know what you’re trying to do?' he said to me, 'you’re trying to get me in trouble with the English media and the English people'.

"I said that I was simply asking a natural, logical follow-up to a question. Then he said: ‘You know what? You have two options now: you can stop and start again or I’m leaving’. 

"The producer took the view that he had one hour to fill, so we started again”, Bill remembered.

“But Jack was nice as pie. He got his own way," he joked.

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