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Reid ripe for redemption


Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid celebrates scoring their fifth goal during the FA Cup Third Round. Picture credit: John Walton/PA Wire.

Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid celebrates scoring their fifth goal during the FA Cup Third Round. Picture credit: John Walton/PA Wire.

Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid celebrates scoring their fifth goal during the FA Cup Third Round. Picture credit: John Walton/PA Wire.

IT is more than unusual in a football forum to find an entire thread devoted to one individual with genuine admiration and approval the theme, and hardly a begrudger in sight. Andy Reid is in that category right now with Nottingham Forest fans.

No doubt Lionel Messi enjoys a pretty handy ride from Barcelona fans but most other footballers divide opinion as often as they unite it.

Reid picked a good day to give Premier League opposition a taste of the ability which he has always had but has not always showed.

West Ham, running out of steam as Sam Allardyce's ability to pump out hot air increases, were ripe for a good FA Cup thumping and Reid took the opportunity to heart.

Captain, inspiration for a famous Cup win with a goal to cap it off and a new two-and- a-half year deal in his back pocket. Not a bad day at all.

Forest is in Reid's blood and on the forums for the last few days he has been acclaimed. Many feel that he should be groomed as the next manager when the new deal expires and it was hard to find anyone who disagreed.

One thread spoke of him as the Irish Messi, a title currently in the possession of a certain Wessi and that's another reason why his timing was so good. Roy Keane was in the stand and it's not the first time he's had a look at him.

Wes Hoolahan is Reid's rival for an Ireland shirt and it is amazing how we are now looking hard at both of them while Martin O'Neill and Keane assemble their database.

Just 12 months ago, we wondered would Hoolahan ever get a game and Reid simply wasn't on the map.

Now Hoolahan's name is fairly hot as a possible transfer window mover to bigger and better things while Forest felt it prudent to tie Reid down to a new long-term deal.

Reid is a complex character. He has had bad times and not just those visited on him by Giovanni Trapattoni. Spurs was a wipe-out and Sunderland not a whole lot better. Everyone knows his weight has been an issue though he would defend himself to the hilt on that one.

But anyone who watched him learn the banjo in a TG4 repeat before Christmas saw a man prepared to laugh at himself and more than a tad humbled by the musical talent around him.

He gave it a go and managed to bash out a tune by the end of it. He sang too and won the crowd over. Not unlike his football career. Each time he has been written off, he has another go and comes back strong again.

That shows courage and depth of character, particularly when the manager of his country's senior international side chose him as a metaphor for the discipline he wanted to impose and scorned his ability with dismissive shrugs and an attempt to make him a figure of fun.

What made Trapattoni's actions all the more galling was the fact that on several occasions after Reid's alleged infraction in a hotel in Wiesbaden, Irish players showed too much enthusiasm for after-hours activity closer to home and were never subjected to the same treatment.

Time does not dilute the crassness of Trapattoni's act and if Reid allowed himself a little smile when Hannover said: 'Thanks, but no thanks', to a job application from the great man, he would be excused. Trap's day is done.

The fact that Reid has never opened his mouth about the lost years other than to say during them that he was available for selection and since O'Neill's appointment has maintained a similarly dignified posture is a testimony to his maturity.

He was entitled to a bellyache and even if both members of the new Ireland management team show no such qualms about publicly berating someone who has wronged them, they must both be impressed with Reid's restraint.

Reid's recent success is just a snapshot in a growing collage of Irish good news stories. It's a long time since our best men have made the kind of headlines Séamus Coleman is enjoying at the moment.

It makes it easier to tolerate the steady build-up towards Brazil in the summer and whatever friendly games are arranged for May/June will be a delicious appetiser before the main event.