You never know who will be in Bunbeg on a Bank Holiday Monday.
Cáit Ní Cheallaigh and her brothers, Míċeál-Piaras and Ultán-Rua were enjoying their mineral and crisps in Ostán Gweedore, when in walked Paddy Crerand. The former Scotland, Celtic and Manchester United footballer was more than happy to stop for a chat with Dad, Gerry.
On discovering the youngsters were from Derry, Paddy recalled Manchester United’s trip to the Brandywell in 2000:
“I happened to be speaking to John Hume. He told me that Derry City Football Club was struggling financially. I mentioned this to our manager, Alex Ferguson, who is a smashing fella, and he agreed to send a team over to the Brandywell. We had a great time while we were there. Eric Cantona played that night.”
The 16 times Scotland International, and member of Manchester United’s victorious 1968 European Cup Final team, was in Donegal for his MUTV show.
He said: “’The Paddy Crerand Show’ goes out every Monday from 6.30pm until 7.30pm. It is a phone-in show, during which we discuss all things Manchester United. This week we are broadcasting live from Ostán Gweedore. My guest is the legendary Norman Whiteside. Apparently, we have lots of viewers in China and Malaysia!
“I am delighted to be back in Gweedore, my mother’s home place. She was Sarah ‘Tim’ Boyle. Her people own this hotel. My cousin, Timmy, took it over from my uncle, Hughie ‘Tim’ Boyle.”
Speaking about Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton player who collapsed on Saturday, Paddy Crerand praised all of the fans at the match.
He said: “Football fans dislike each other for the 90 minutes of the game. They call each other all sorts of stuff. However, the reaction of the Bolton and Tottenham fans to Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest, shows the great community spirit which also exists in the game. On Saturday, there were fans from both sides with tears in their eyes, as young Fabrice Muamba was stretchered off the pitch.”
A quick scan of Paddy Crerand’s ‘Political Paddy’ blog, at www.patcrerand.co.uk is very revealing, particularly in the week that George Osborne delivered Britain’s budget. Paddy is scathing of the Tories.
In September 2010, he wrote: “As David Cameron spouts about ‘we’re all in it together’ I have to laugh. High profile businessmen like Philip Green and top sports celebrities like Lewis Hamilton are happy enough to trade in the UK or grow their fan base here yet apparently not happy to pay the going rate of tax. People like this absolutely disgust me.
“The problem is that we are not all in it together – too many companies and senior businessmen consistently abuse the system.’”
Posing for a photograph with the Ó Ceallaigh’s, Paddy Crerand sent his regards to Derry’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.