Wednesday 18 September 2019

Theresa, John and Conor are going, going . . . gone?


Former chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney (Niall Carson/PA)
Former chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland John Delaney (Niall Carson/PA)
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

It's been a week of endings, retirements, leavings… well, sort of. John Delaney left his post but isn't quite gone. Theresa May is gone in all but name, although she's officially still there. And Conor McGregor is definitely gone, except some people are insisting that it's all a stunt and he's not gone at all.

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For one of the best guides to the entire Brexit mess, specifically May's role in it, you could do worse than The Brexit Prime Minister (BBC Radio 4, Mon 8pm), which just aired its third episode. Political commentator Steve Richards and several experts analyse the PM's leadership, diplomatic skills and major decisions since the referendum in 2016.

It's a clear-sighted guide and a big help in untangling this Gordian knot, though perhaps the whole thing can be reduced, in essence, down to this one line from Richards: "A press conference hastily convened. A tired prime minister. A statement read out." This is, he adds with a resigned tone, "a scenario played out countless times over the past three years."

Delaney, meanwhile, has found himself - not for the first time - moving from the sports section of media to the news section, which is never a good sign for how things are going.

On News at One (Radio 1, Mon-Fri) we heard that several FAI staff endured a pay cut to their already quite low salaries, while Delaney was having his rent paid to the tune of €36,000 a year.

Meanwhile on Drivetime (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) Barry Lenihan gave an in-depth and informative overview of the Delaney years, and all their attendant controversies. And there were quite a few; the listener could be forgiven for forgetting some of them.

The Hard Shoulder (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 4pm) report on McGregor's just-announced retirement from the old fight game began with a montage of quotes from the man himself - that's Conor, not Ivan Yates. It was the usual tedious McGregor shtick, full of boring, obnoxious braggadocio delivered in his trademark nasal drone: money, New York, money, I'm great, the Irish are great, more money, etc.

"I am no fan," Ivan balefully declared. "I find McGregor loud and uber-aggressive. I condemn a lot of his recent scrapes. I don't begrudge him his success, I just don't think he's a good role model."

Irish MMA writer Neil Keegan reckoned that McGregor is "playing a game", and suggested, interestingly, that the fighter is "petrified of what he's going to do when he retires". American fighter and writer - with easily the greatest name heard on radio all month - Phoenix Carnevale added: "Can he just sit on the sidelines?"

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