Comment: Shamed Darron Gibson has no excuse for his actions
There is a certain sadness in the story of a player that wastes a talent and destroys a career. But it's difficult to feel any sympathy for Darron Gibson this morning.
It would appear that he is on borrowed time at Sunderland after the second drink-driving charge of his life. The stat is the key here. Gibson has, to pardon the pun, been down this road before. He will have to accept whatever comes his way now, condemned to a lifetime of being known as man that could have been a contender.
Gibson was a good player. Alex Ferguson was confident enough in his ability to pick him in a Champions League semi-final in 2011, and he would score in that game too.
Just eight months later he was out the door, sold in the aftermath of an ill-judged night out with Wayne Rooney. United could not afford to lose Rooney, but they were able to part with Gibson.
bad luck Gibson has suffered bad luck in his career, injuries at bad times which stunted his progress.
By all accounts, he knuckled down when he tore his cruciate on Irish duty in 2013 and devoted himself to the rehab. It was the subsequent niggles and setbacks that chipped away at his resolution.
That can happen. But the language of football is irrelevant when it comes to treating the seriousness of the indiscretions that have disgraced the Derryman. Irish people can be quite forgiving - our voting history proves that point - but Gibson has already used up his supply of excuses.
Consider the details of his first drink driving episode in 2015.
Gibson's car mounted a pavement in Cheshire and struck three cyclists that were fixing a chain.
The Everton player sped from the scene and drew attention to himself by making a noisy entry at a garage by crashing into a petrol pump and then starting to fill his vehicle while wearing no shoes.
There's a tragi-comic element to the story, but any mirth in detailing the specifics should not take away from a serious point. He could have killed someone.
Anybody getting into a car over the legal limit is a danger to themselves and to the general public.
There may be people reading this who have chanced it. There are those with longer memories who can remember the time where it was commonplace. And there are still individuals who consider a minor breach of the rules to be no big deal. .
But Gibson should know the consequences of his actions because he has already sat through a legal case that culminated with a 20-month ban from the road.
Clearly, the point did not register. For repeat offenders, there is no reasonable defence. He has already exhausted his second chance. The last Irishman to properly break through at Manchester United is now making more front pages than back pages.
He is carrying an injury at the moment, but it's unlikely he would have been on the plane to Turkey this morning anyway. Gibson is out of the Irish equation and has ceased to be relevant because his future prospects are bleak.
The 30-year-old has remarkably started just 86 league games across the entirety of his senior career.
Those figures are startling when you consider that 22-year-old Alan Browne, who has skipped ahead of him in the Irish queue, has already been picked by Preston on 96 occasions, including Saturday's victory at the Stadium of Light.
At Preston, players maximise their ability. At Sunderland, they regress. You might remember Gibson warming up for the season by engaging in a late-night argument with fans, where he ironically took issue with players that didn't care about the club.
In that instance, there was cause to empathise because a player is entitled to go out without having his discussions filmed.
Similarly, Jamie Carragher's regrettable spit shower was on a par with the irresponsible actions of a man filming him while driving.
Gibson's idiocy is on another level, and he has been the architect of his own downfall. A crash with a parked car would be a fitting end to a career that is going nowhere.