George Hamilton — king of the jinx and the metaphor


Right on track:

“To stretch the analogy about trains, Man United have been rather like the swanky train that goes through the channel tunnel while what we’ve been watching from Bruges has equated to something like a two-carriage commuter train.”

After Switzerland conceded late to Italy:

“And for once, the Swiss penchant for accurate timing was off as they sought to shut the stable door long after the Italian stallion had bolted.”

Don’t pull that thread:

“Just like the jumper that gets caught on a nail and the wool begins to unravel, unless they can lift themselves here…”

Holland and Sweden’s uneventful slog towards penalties at Euro 2004:

“It’s like a train pulling into a station slowing down. There’s an air of inevitability about this. It’s not going to crash into the buffers. It’s going to come to a gentle stop.”

An upfield surge from Japp Stam:

“He lumbered forward like a juggernaut and pulled the trigger and let fly.”

Sterile domination:

“Spain have had the possession to win but not the sharp edge… like plastic airport cutlery.”

Crying fowl as Sparta Prague hit back at Old Trafford:

“Attacks on goal were as rare as hen’s teeth, but now they’ve bitten and United have felt the force.”

Defining frustration:

“For England it’s as if the genie’s in the bottle, and they haven’t got a bottle opener.”

Beginning to doubt himself:

“The wind in the sails of the Kazak team, if that can be the case since the country is absolutely landlocked.”

Hoping to ferry Shay Given to World Cup 2006 in style:

“If Ireland are to get to Germany, he should go in some class of golden stagecoach.”

Eidur Gudjohnsen misses under pressure from Alan Stubbs:

“You could say Gudjohnsen is in Stubbs Gazette. His credit is nil.”

Long before bus-parking became fashionable, George had his own defensive vehicle:

“They’ve put a set of bull-bars in front of the Portuguese jeep!”

A rare moment of inspiration from Jesper Gronkjaer:.

”Having given us a fair amount of chalk, he’s finally come up with some vintage Stilton.”

Jose Mourinho struggling to keep them in tune:

“He is like a choir master but a demented choir master and the Chelsea choir wouldn’t win many choral competitions.”

Green fingers:

“The seeds of doubt that were sown at the weekend against Egypt have been doused by a dose of Jack Charlton’s almighty weedkiller.”

Celtic’s plumbing difficulties:

“It seemed they had prised open the floodgates but somehow they wouldn’t open and remain stubbornly ajar and the flood has been but a trickle.”

Swiss cheese:

“The flags are waving, and no doubt at the foot of the Alps, the cow bells are chiming too. And it’s going to take a lot for Ireland to turn it round and sour the chocolate.”

Arsenal leave it late:

“They’ve really eked this one out. Like coal miners mining their seam until they finally reach the surface with their precious black gold.”

Savage hunger:

“The midfield are like a chef… trying to prise open a stubborn oyster to get at the fleshy meat inside.”

Simply the greatest sentence ever uttered:

“Real Madrid are like a rabbit in the glare of the headlights in the face of Manchester United’s attacks. But this rabbit comes with a suit of armour in the shape of two precious away goals.”



No fan of Jimmy Jump:

“Some headcase has decided he’s going to make a point about Barcelona… I do think it’s stupid to be showing it because he’s only getting — what did Margaret Thatcher call it? — the oxygen of publicity. He doesn’t deserve it. I hope they give him what-for!”

Just what did the Lyon centre-half ever do to George?

“You can trace all that back to the sliced clearance from Boumsong, which led to a throw-in, which led to a free-kick, which led to a corner, which led to the goal.”

Unhappy with Dutch tactical substitutions:

“Dick Advocaat is Dick the Dope! They were two goals up but whoa ho ho, they’ve blown it!”

The hardship:

“I missed my afternoon nap because of the car horns blowing outside.”

Unimpressed with Tomislav Butina’s tendency to punch:

”There’s not a coach in continental Europe who teaches how to catch.”

Even after Tom plucked the next cross from the skies:

”Yeah good catch. That’s something he learned himself.”

Outraged at referee Cuneyt Cakir:

“A 36-year-old insurance agent from Istanbul knocked United out of Europe.”

George gets tough:

“Steve Bennett, you’ve made a fool of yourself!”

Not sugar-coating things:

“Twenty two years is a long time to wait but maybe never is even longer and that could be enough to spur Longford on.”

Porto sub Edgaras Jankauskas fails to impress with an ungainly challenge:

“That is not the way we do things in the Champions League, sir.”

Politely rebuking Lilian Laslandes after a red card offence:

“You sir, are an idiot!”



“The awful realisation has dawned on these players that it’s down to Dirk Kuyt”

“There’s no striker on the bench, unless you count Gary Doherty as a striker.”

“The goal that has driven German hearts into the ground.”

“Kevin Kilbane — a man who hasn’t put an error wrong.”



What he gives with one hand…

“The ageless Jason Byrne… now 35 years of age.”

“It’s hard to believe he’s going to turn 40 next month. Ageless is a word that springs to mind.”

“The ageless, 35-year-old Frank Lampard.”

“Ryan Giggs, who’ll be 40 in November – the ageless Ryan Giggs.”



Relishing another demolition of Man City:

“Money can’t buy me love and it can’t buy me the Champions League either.”

ortuguese centre-half Couto wasn’t a super trouper:

“Can you hear the drums, Fernando?”

Writing off the Germans:

“There was a 70s German singer called Katia Epstein. She had a song Wenn Eine Neue Tage Bacht — When a New Day Dawns — and one of the lines of the song referred to when the troubles of the past are being vergessen und verbei — forgotten and past. Well, they won’t forget the European Championship but they’ll want to, and it will certainly be something in the past for them!”

Unsympathetic to a Cypriot clutching an elbow:

“Is it his guitar arm?”



It’s only words:

“The defender done unto Dunne what Dunne done unto him.”

“It’s Hazard who hazards a shot that causes no hazard whatsoever.”



A tussle for possession between Zambrotta and Kilbane must have been down to bionics:

“64 years between them – 32 each – and they’re involved in a footrace.”

Unbelievable, Jeff:

“Isn’t it amazing to think that but for Chris Sutton’s third goal last week, the score would now be two-all?”



“For a player that’s active in Dijon, you could say that did not cut the mustard.”

“A couple of sombreros have been tossed from the stands. It looks like the Mexicans have thrown their hat at it.”

“The referee is from Pamplona, let’s hope there’s nothing bullish about the performance.”



Considering the full potential of every effort on goal:

“If that shot had been on target and delivered with a bit more pace, it might have troubled the keeper.”

Glass half full:

“It’s nil-nil but it could easily have been more.”

Seeing the best in Clinton Morrison:

“He did all that reasonably could have been asked of him. The only thing was it didn’t hit the target.”



“His name will be all over the headlines in Germany in tomorrow morning’s papers and tonight on the web”



Sometimes it just doesn’t add up for Ireland:

“Unfortunately the sum of the parts didn’t equate to each other.”

Or for George:

“A certain symmetry in all of that, coming after 75 minutes, 15 minutes from the end.”

On Greek pecking order:

“They’ve lost their first choice central defender and their second first choice central defender.”

George may have struggled in primary school:

“Petrov, Dimitrov, Petrov… heh heh… sounds like you’re doing your times tables.”

All credit, he’s caught up in recent years:

“Three and three is six, and four is ten. And the goalkeeper, that makes eleven”



“Chiellini, fresh from graduating in Business Administration with a Masters degree last week, has gone up…”

His best ever referee introduction:

“His sister Tanya is a champion ballroom dancer.”



Worrying Ireland’s World Cup play-off might spill-over:

“We don’t really know what Iran are capable of when the gun is put to their head.”

Forever vigilant:

“Tomasson quickly through, but Galasek saw it from his midfield sentry box.”

Stepping things up:

“Otto Rehhagel has been watching tonight, and will plot the Greek assault on the Czech fortress.”

The Germans tend to come in for special treatment:

“Another siege gun kick from Manuel Neuer.”



Making a meal of it

“Messi peeled the prawn and Villa served it up in spectacular fashion.”

Full of beans:

“It’s 57 goals for Robbie Keane and 57 varieties of goal.”

Just desserts:

“City’s defence has crumbled like a meringue being smashed.”

Autobiographical George?

“The Swiss are prepared to go and search for what they want, while the Irish are content to wait for room service.”

Coming up short on native Roman confectionary:

“I can’t think of a cake, but whatever it is, Madrid have iced it.”



Going through the motions

Impressed with Dortmund set-pieces:

“Corner durch technik.”

More German advancement:

“Vorsprung durch possession.”

No heroics here:

“Robben’s set to take it – Batman’s in the middle.”

Phoning it in:

“That was telegraphed like a telegraph pole falling down.”



PSV’s innovative approach to player recruitment:

“They actually employ a scout – a Dutchman who travels.”

Small Merseys:

“Liverpool lost the League Cup final to the eventual winners of that League Cup.”

Thanks George:

“Statistics will show that most corner kicks don’t lead to a goal.”

You don’t say, George:

“It will almost be in Jurgen Klopp’s interest not to concede any goals.”

Happy with flag placement:

“Ireland have won a corner, and in a very good position”.

“And Ireland have got to contain the brothers Baggio.”

Moments later: “The Baggio brothers, of course, are not related.”



Think he’s talking about Juventus going through:

“And it’s the Old Lady from Turin who has hitched up her skirts and got on with the job.”

A startling announcement late in the 2002 World Cup final:

“This thing just keeps on throbbing.”

Encountering temptation:

“The quality of the game is such that self-amusement should be the order of the day.”

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink:

“I think he’s more of a mouthful than a handful.”

Butragueno gets the curly finger:

“He’s pulling him off. The Spanish manager is pulling his captain off!”



Asking the big questions

“I wonder why a sack of potatoes is deemed to fall?”



One spoon in your commentary box

“Irony of ironies, last time out when they salvaged a draw against Sunderland, it was an own-goal that gave them that.”

“This Irish team failed to reach the World Cup Finals when they were held in Europe, but ironically now that they’re taking place at the other side of the world, they’ve qualified.”

“Isn’t it ironic that if France are to get through now by virtue of a penalty kick, that it was a missed penalty by Spain that got them this far.”

“Isn’t it ironic that it’s his cousin Les who should show the value of Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United?”

“Isn’t it ironic that the 2-2 should come as a result of two scrappy goals.”



Unorthodox, possibly illegal:

“Griezmann takes all the free kicks with that white flash on the top of his head.”

Arsenal’s new era was a bit of a mouthful:

“The one-nil to the Arsenal era that brought them such success has moved on to a very different kind of era, a two-nil in the Champions League and a six-one and a four-one in the Premier League.”

A tailbone of the unexpected:

“Bryan Shelley with a problem with his coccyx, which brings to mind the grandmother in Napoleon Dynamite, who broke hers out on a motorbike on the dunes.”

Sometimes George just can’t leave a sentence lie.

“Given almost single-handedly won the match for Newcastle against Everton…although obviously he didn’t score the goals.”

And he digs and digs:

“Kevin Moran, oldest man on the pitch today…. 35 years of age. Of course the referee could possibly be older than that… and technically he’s on the pitch too… then again his linesmen could be even older than him… but are they technically ‘on’ the pitch.”


“It was pretty obvious to everyone. Like the sword of Excalibur rising in the penalty area.”



A quick one-two with the Bard:

“Alan Byrne, tidying up. Autolycus. The snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.”



“I might be tempting fate but I can’t see the Poles scoring… OH NOOOO they just have!!”

“A win’s a win’s a win. And it you want to win you need the goal… Italy are only one-nil up in Podgorica. This is Kishichev, Petrov… oh noooo.”

“Gareth Bale has had a quiet afternoon against the club who nurtured him… oh he’s done it.”

“Liverpool have got their campaign back on track… unless Lisandro can get in here. Lisandro!!”

“That knock Given got earlier hasn’t affected him adversely… oohhh, Given’s lost it.”

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