ROVERS DRAW

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

SHAMROCK ROVERS 1 UCD 1  Airtricity Premier League

A nice summer evening at Tallaght Stadium in South Dublin, with short-sleeve shirts being the order of the day in the Mediterranean-style heat. The groundsman had obviously been working overtime watering the grass. This was an oasis of green in a city where every back garden seemed to be parched brown. The match programme explained how there was a water well situated at one side of the ground and it was in constant use, much to the consternation of Bohemian FC during a recent visit, apparently, who did not appreciate the sprinklers being on during their warm-up.

There seemed to be a very good atmosphere in the main stand, with plenty of young people there with their parents or minders. Some of them took part in a mini soccer game at half time, displaying their skills for all to see. This is a great way to encourage new support, by bringing in children and making them feel welcome. It was noticeable that a number of Rovers’ supporters were non-Irish nationals whose children were possibly born in Ireland. There were also strong warnings in the programme that racist behaviour of any kind would not be tolerated by the club. Full marks to Rovers for their approach.

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

Rovers star on the day was a 29 year-old Libyan Eamon Zayed, who was signed by the club earlier this month. He has played for a number of League of Ireland clubs. The player, capped 12 times at under 21 level for the Republic of Ireland, has in recent years gained valuable international football experience playing with Libya whilst playing his club football in Iran. In 2011 the striker signed for Tehran Pro League club Persepolis where he was part of their Asian Football Confederation Champions League squad.

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

Shamrock Rovers v UCD

Zayed’s score in the 24th minute gave Rovers a good start. The students did not look as sharp in the first half as they had done three weeks ago against Cork City at Belfield. Their equaliser in the second half came against the run of play. In fact, I was looking down at this picture I had just taken on my iphone when College through Robbie Benson had the ball in the net in the 65th minute. I put on my AFC Wimbledon polo shirt this morning when I left Belfast and it was coincidental that I wore it to the match, but I am always glad to support both the real Dons and Rovers. By the way, you can see a sort of worried look on the face of the Rovers supporter behind me with a green cap!

Michael Fisher at Tallaght Stadium (main stand)

Michael Fisher at Tallaght Stadium (main stand)

So the spoils were shared and Rovers dropped two valuable points, which will not please their manager Trevor Croly. By the way the referee (and I thought he did a good job) was from Monaghan, Paul McLaughlin, who it turns out is a Garda from Inishowen, Co.Donegal. He has been on the League of Ireland referee panel since 2008.

Shamrock Rovers Manager Trevor Croly

Shamrock Rovers Manager Trevor Croly

BBC ‘JACUZZI OF CASH’

BBClogoLooking at the story about the BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten calling the size of severance payments made to senior BBC managers a matter of “shock and dismay”, I wondered why it had taken so long for the ‘gatekeepers’ of the Corporation’s standards to realise what was going on. Seven years ago a senior NUJ official in the broadcasting sector warned about how BBC executives were “bathing themselves in a Jacuzzi of cash, while staff are experiencing a drought”, at a time of staff cutbacks and reductions in their pension benefits.

Speaking in 2006, Paul McLaughlin added that even though the Corporation had capped bonuses at 10% of basic pay – down from 30% two years ago – salary increases meant that senior executives have still seen their total remuneration packages grow significantly. Mr McLaughlin said that as a result senior BBC managers were guaranteed a fixed annual increase in their overall pay and bonus package of 15%. Under the previous bonus scheme, he said, they could get a bigger rise, in theory, but this was more dependent on hitting performance-related targets.  nujlogo_burgundy

Over the last three years, (2003-2006) basic BBC executive pay has gone up by more than 30%. That’s at a time when the BBC is claiming there is no money and the annual pay deal they have offered this year is below inflation“, the NUJ representative said.

Today the BBC reports the evidence given by Lord Patten to the Public Accounts Committee at Westminster. Interesting to note the comments by Lucy Adams, Director of Human Resources: when asked about why there had been overpayments (severance payments to executives that went beyond contractual terms), she said “the overwhelming focus was to get numbers out of the door as quickly as possible”. I’m waiting to see the report coming up now on Newsnight.

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge MP who had earlier been grilling Lord Patten and the new DG Lord Hall, told Jeremy Paxman the equivalent of half the cost of running Radio 4 (£25m) had been spent by the Corporation on exiting 150 senior executives. Now the blame game is starting.

But one former executive did the right thing: former director of archive content Roly Keating gave back a payment of £376,000 on the basis that it was not authorised “fully and appropriately”.