Once upon a time, we interviewed Mick McCarthy for a one-off digital magazine, and Mick had to do an intro to it with a video message. We showed him the script that we’d written for him. “Nobody writes my words”, he said, and made us throw the script in the bin. Five minutes later, he asked us what we wanted him to say. So we told him. “Well, you best write it down then.” We walked over to the bin, retrieved the script we’d written for him and unfurled it in front of him. “Thanks”, he said. “Thanks”.
We’ve actually got a lot of love for Mick. He’s a stubborn trifle of honesty, lunacy, and bravado. He’s the good stuff is Mick, and here’s a load of his best:
MICK MCCARTHY IS A WANKER, IS A WANKER
Mick’s got up early. He’s had his Weetabix (Sainsbury’s own, milk in the bowl first, always), he’s had his three cups of tea (English breakfast, milk in the mug last, always), and he’s made sure the cats have been fed (Whisker’s special, milk from his own coarse palm, always). It’s injury time in the first half. Thousands and thousands of men are singing that he;’s a wanker. Gary Breen is doing nothing. Mick’s going to have an early night.
He’s your dad. In the condensated car. Turning talkSPORT down to tell you that he couldn’t give a “flying toss” that Craig from over the road is taking the kids to the Caribbean for Christmas. Crisis management is hard in December.
You would, wouldn’t you? Imagine not.
“If you’re asking me to start seeing silver linings on a great big fucking grey cloud, well there ain’t one for me at the minute”, said Mick after this 94th-minute winner. I was at this game. We tried so hard. I ran back to the car with wet eyes. I punched someone’s wing mirror.
“Dorian made no answer, but passed listlessly in front of his picture and turned towards it. When he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes as if he had recognised himself for the first time. He stood there motionless and in wonder, dimly conscious that Hallward was speaking to him, but not catching the meaning of his words. The sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation.”
The ecstasy. The honesty. The pride. The Promised Land™. The days of George Elokobi scoring braces in the Premier League. Things were better then.
He’s throwing noodles at Kevin Doyle. He’s telling Kevin Foley that he needs armbands. He’s making Karl Henry ask the lifeguard if the pool can stay open later. He’s practising his back-flips. “Nenad, Nenad! Me and Terry Connor are going to Cyprus in the summer. Three pools. Car hire included. Half-board.” Nenad flicks his cigarette butt into the pool and lights another one. The lifeguard is keeping the pool open later.
SLIGHTLY DISTURBED MICK
Sometimes the voices come through the hum, don’t they. Sometimes, the figures come through the walls, don’t they. Sometimes, you remember that thing Roy Keane said. The cameras are back up in the house.
He’s stolen a chair from your auntie’s house (the one she brings out when Beryl’s husband is round for boiled ham) and is lampooning everything you say.
Stir it up / Little darlin’ / Stir it up.
ONE OF THEM HEADERS WHERE HE’S DECIDED HE’S GONNA WIN THE BALL WHEREVER IT GOES. HE IS TITANIC. HE IS IRREFUTABLE. HE IS MICK.
SLIGHTLY OUTDATED MICK
It’s two thousand and tennnnnnnnn, Michael.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
HUMBLE, LOVELY MICK
The words. The words they do not work.