Tuesday 24 October 2017

Have your say: Business people keep sport going

Eamonn Sweeney's laughable attempts to portray sport as a class struggle [Jan 23] are as myopic as they are anachronistic.

The NFL and its possible labour dispute: no problem. Simple enough to decide who is right or wrong by asking who the fans would rather watch, the owners or the players. Without the infrastructure for leagues, games, stadia, TV rights and everything else there would be no environment for anyone to see sports at all. These are provided by businessmen. Perhaps we could all go to the nearest field at some indeterminate time and the world's greatest players would just happen to be there and, hey presto, a world-class game might just break out.

But the article on West Ham and how badly the porn kings who own it treated Gianfranco Zola took the biscuit. Let's get one thing clear: Zola would never have left Italy, would never have kicked a ball in England had it not been for a businessman. If Italian football had more money than English football, none of Zola's fantastic football performances would have happened. The money was there because Rupert Murdoch, a businessman, had enabled it.

Seeing how you have named and shamed the West Ham owners and their sordid way of making money, perhaps you could do the same with a product sold on the backs of sportsmen that is far more pernicious. The ill effects of the vast universe of adult porn would pale into insignificance beside the effects of a weekend's drinking in Ireland. We have it all, from the ill judgement of our Taoiseach to the casual violence of our street-corner scumbags.

Paul Shanley

Hammers' ideals sullied by Sullivan

Eamonn Sweeney's 'Lions owned by reptiles' article gets 11 out of 10 from me. The world needs more of this kind of honourable and decent journalism. Seeing someone like David Sullivan running West Ham (a club once steeped in sophisticated ideals and principles) is sickening.

Gerry Daly

Munster should not be written off

It was with a certain amount of sadness that I read Brendan Fanning's ungracious article 'The Trouble with Munster' [Jan 23]. He claimed a former (unnamed) Munster player said that Munster's problem is Leinster, which is a laughable suggestion.

The truth is that Leinster and its supporters have suffered from an inferiority complex when it comes to Munster. Yes, Leinster are on top now and good luck to them, but no team in the history of sport that can dominate all the time. Indeed Munster have blazed a trail and set records in Europe that Leinster can only aspire to! Furthermore, Michael Cheika is on record as saying that Munster was the team he tried to emulate when he was in charge at Leinster.

The article also said that Leinster makes friends and influence people in the way they accommodate mini-rugby at half-time and by the involvement of team members in supporting various charities. Munster are not to be found wanting in these matters either.

He continues in his scathing article to criticise Thomond Park, saying that "If the dark evening is attended by wind and rain, you forget about the appealing vista" Well Brendan, we stood on the terraces on a wet and windy night in November 2010 and sang and danced while our team beat Australia and the vista that evening was never more appealing!

We have two Irish teams left in the Heineken Cup and the winner will be a worthy one, and I say good luck to both of them. After reading this begrudging piece I get the impression that he thinks Munster are finished, and while they may be out of this year's Heineken Cup (failing by just a single point), he would be well advised to make sure they are dead before he buries them.

Tadhg Collopy

Red Army rarely fail to entertain

I buy your paper every Sunday and the first thing I look at is your sports section. Well, no more. I have been a rugby fan for many years and have enjoyed the exploits of Munster in all those years. I accept they are not performing now but the biased piece Brendan Fanning wrote about Munster left me speechless!

He says arrogance is at the root of their malaise. I have come across quite a lot of the players and they are the least arrogant bunch of guys I've ever met considering the greatness they have achieved. When we go to Thomond Park, we go to be entertained and are seldom disappointed -- the weather is the least of our worries! He describes the match-day experience as dismal. I doubt the 26,000 fans who regularly attend would agree.

Sally Maher

Sunday Indo Sport

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