All in the Game: Liam Kerrigan rubbing shoulders with Clooney and Fabregas

Messi vs Ronaldo whataboutism; Martin Tyler apologises for Hillsborough comments

Como is famous for its lake, George Clooney’s villa and, as it turns out, the picturesque Giuseppe Sinigaglia stadium, which is home to Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Wise, Marc Bircham – the recently deposed and highly quotable Waterford coach/ultra – and … Liam Kerrigan.

Kerrigan, the rapid Irish under-21 winger recently switched UCD for the Indonesian-funded revolution in upscale Lombardy, where Renaissance architecture is always in vogue.

Despite bankruptcy in 2004, the story of rebranded Como 1907 has many miles to run. Akosua Puni Essien, wife of Michael Essien, purchased the club’s assets by auction in 2016, before the Djarum Group, led by Michael Hartano and Robert Budi Hartano took the reins in 2017. The billionaire brothers subsequently made Dennis Wise Como’s CEO, with Cesc Fabregas unveiled as the first of several big name signings.

“After the call [on Zoom with Wise] I said to my agent, ‘Don’t even bother mentioning anyone else, I’m going there’,” Kerrigan recently told The42. “Their plans for the next few years are so exciting. They have a three-year plan to get into Serie A, the aim this season is the playoffs so it could come sooner.”


It won’t be all plain sailing with George and Amal, as Spezia proved on Saturday when thumping Como 5-1 in the Coppa Italia. No sign of Cesc but Kerrigan got a run off the bench as he targets form and match fitness ahead of the 21s’ Euro playoffs against Israel on September 23rd and 27th.

Messi Whataboutism by Ronaldo bots

The Ronaldo stans/bots algorithm came alive Saturday night after Messi ghosted into the Clermont box, chesting the ball with his back to goal before netting a bicycle kick. A depressing debate raged around Ronaldo owning a superior bicycle kick for Real Madrid against Juventus in 2018. Whataboutism in its purest form, the man himself was busy contradicting new Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag by declaring his match fitness for the Premier League opener at home to Brighton, via Instagram: “Ready” said Cristiano alongside a ‘prayer’ emoji and ‘bicep’ emoji.

‘Fifa, France football and Uefa officials have unanimously decided to cancel Messi’s overhead goal against Clermont last night because [Ronaldo stans] and 99,000 others have flooded twitter with tears and Wikipedia screenshots,” went one tweeter as @cristianoxtra ridiculed the lack of height in Messi’s leap. In response, Messi’s social media manager posted pics of Leo and Neymar chilling in airplane seats 1A and 1B.

Word of Mouth

“Real men can wear pink.” – Ian Wright responds to Alan Sugar’s latest bout of twitter pouting by donning the colour on Match of the Day.

The curse of number 9

The No 9 shirt has been temporarily retired by Chelsea for compelling yet supernatural reasons. Some of the modern game’s most prolific goal scorers – Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, Álvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuaín – all saw their averages plummet in royal blue.

“It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed,” says Thomas Tuchel ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Goodison Park. “It’s not the case that we leave it open for tactical reasons, for some players in the pipeline that come in and naturally take it.

“There was not a big demand for number nine. Players sometimes want to change numbers but, surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it.”

One wonders what Kerry Dixon – 193 goals from 420 matches in the cursed shirt – makes of it all.

By the numbers: 276

Minutes played by Irish players in opening Premier League weekend as Gavin Bazunu (Southampton) and Nathan Collins (Wolves) made their top-flight debuts alongside Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Shane Duffy (one minute for Fulham v Liverpool), Matt Doherty (four minutes for Spurs v Bazunu) and Conor Conventry (1 min for West Ham v Man City).

Tyler Hillsborough comment compels Liverpool to educate BBC and Sky

Martin Tyler, a scandal in three acts. Veteran commentator couples “Hillsborough and other hooligan-related issues” on BBC radio. The Beeb apologises for not “robustly” challenging Tyler as Sky Sports tweets his “wholehearted” apology: “There is no connection at all between the Hillsborough disaster and hooliganism – I know that, and I was not implying that there was.”

Merseyside unites in condemnation of 76-year-old’s revised view. Liverpool FC invites BBC News and Sky Sports to meet club representatives to ensure ‘constant vigilance’ around reporting of the 1989 disaster. Perhaps the media executives will be made sit through ITV’s 2022 TV Show, Anne.