In this week’s column, the Secret Junior Footballer looks at the phenomenon that is the 12 Pubs of Christmas.
Last year’s 12 pubs of Christmas was so successful that our lads decided to do it all again this year.
Circumstances (ie - my wife) dictated that I couldn’t make it to the festivities but the absolute state of them on Sunday last indicated that the tradition is still going strong and if anything, has gotten better.
Despite the gaffer’s pleas to at least start out in the local, our players are a headstrong bunch and hit the city with a vengeance on Friday night. The local publican you see, was promised the sun, moon and stars if he would only buy new away jerseys for the boys and to be fair we’ve done our best.
But the 12 pubs is a serious matter and planning it has become something of an art form. The local be damned, it’s Christmas jumpers, pints in the odd numbered pubs, bottles in the even numbered, shots in every third one, right hand rules, burgers at the half-way mark and you have to end up in Icon.
The day after the night before brings a thirst for a cure and an early night with a league match on Sunday. The stragglers stumble into the dressing room and for once I’m glad I’m not a young fella anymore.
The older players can however, live vicariously through the new blood but without sounding like a grumpy old man, there wasn’t anything like that in my day.
Of course we’d have a night out for the team around the festive period and on a rare occasion it would lead to a trip into The Davin Arms or into Tropics or Teds or The Works or if we were feeling especially daring, into Docs. A few pints would be had in the Pike Inn, maybe Nestor’s or Molly Malone’s or Macs Bar on Patrick St. At £2 a pint or so, you’d have a hell of a night on £30 with enough for a sausage and chip in the Lobster Pot and a taxi back home.
Simple things, pints and a few small ones when you were just about full. No jaegermeister or flaming sambucas, the only cocaine we ever saw was on NYPD Blue and the only Sex on the Beach we knew was from tall tales out of the lads who had been in Santa Ponsa over the summer.
You can pinpoint the sea change in those traditions to the night Mike Aherne decided to switch from pints to bottles of Smirnoff Ice and the rest is history. What a trail-blazer he was. Hopefully he takes his Regional United side past some of the old haunts for their Christmas night out and stays off the alcopops long enough to tell them they don’t know how good they have it. That man didn’t need Tinder, the birds just flocked to his angular frame and sharp hairstyle.
I remember we trained one year on Christmas Day, just for an hour and we sneaked into the GAA club for a fast one before heading home for the best dinner of the year. Can you imagine asking a player these days to train on Christmas Day?! You’d be told to boil your head.
A good friend once told me that the worst stories began with the phrase ‘remember the time...’ but as knowledgeable at that man was, he was wrong on that one. They’re some of the best.
Moyross Utd head the early running for next week’s Christmas Pudding award.
Out of town in the national and provincial cups and flying in the Premier Division. Shame on them for upsetting the big boys, sure they don’t even sort out their players expenses, how can they expect to sustain their good run of form?!