GEORGE Best was on top of the world, having won every football honour and been crowned Footballer of the Year. Staying in a top London hotel with Miss World, they both returned from a successful day at the races. The bed was strewn with thousands of pounds in cash. Champagne was delivered to the bedroom by a waiter.
He looked at George, looked at Miss World, looked at the money on the bed, looked at the champagne and mumbled, “Where did it all go wrong, Mr Best?”
In later years, Bestie wrung the story dry. “Here I am, voted Footballer of the Year, with Miss World on my bed writhing in cash in the most expensive hotel in London, champagne on ice and this boy asks me where it went wrong.”
After the laughs George always admitted: “The thing is, that waiter was right.” It had all gone wrong, because he had a sense of entitlement. Power can do that.
No walk of life is exempt – sporting, political, business or church. The Rio Olympic Games threw up its share of people consumed by hubris. This arrogance has a sense of entitlement as a bedfellow. One commentator claims that power and entitlement are cardinal ‘Irish sins.’
Recently, GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail said that no one had a right to see every GAA game on television. “I have said this before, I’ll say it again; there is no such thing as a Sky deal. There’s a media deal, and the big winners in the last deal certainly were RTE,” he said.
“There is no automatic right for everybody to see every game. That’s the other thing. Our biggest thing is always to make sure that people are at a match. Without the attendances we have difficulty, so there is no automatic right for anyone to see every single game.”
Has he forgotten that four of Mayo’s six championship games over the summer were exclusive to Sky? Why should Mayo followers have been denied because the GAA suits adopt a pay-per-view television policy? Where is the GAA’s sense of obligation to the community? At its roots, the GAA is a community-based voluntary organisation. Sky Sports recently reported that Dublin faced Mayo in the All-England football final!
Exclusive pay-per-view television deals alienate many people and benefit the few rather than the many. They reduce GAA matches to a product, putting a price rather than a value on our national sport.
Galway and Kerry County Councils have already passed motions calling for all GAA games to be free to air. A similar motion is expected at Mayo County Council next month.
Losing touch with local communities is not exclusive to Croke Park. It is also evident in the mess along the Cogaula Road in Sheeaune, Westport, where work has started on the N5 dual carriageway. Despite verbal requests, written requests and text requests to keep the road clean, the contractors (carrying out preliminary fencing works) continue to muck up the road. A lesser-spotted tractor with a brush will appear occasionally, when every car in the parish is splattered.
This is a big job – with a dual carriageway and a flyover on the Cogaula Road alone. While those of us who live in the area expect to be discommoded at some level, it does not mean we are open to what a mounts to an insult. Anyone working in a community has a duty of care to those who live there. What is happening at present is completely disrespectful to everybody who uses the Cogaula Road.
It is an offence to “allow stones, clay or any other material to remain on a public road where doing so would cause a hazard or potential hazard to people using the road and obstruct or interfere with the safe use of the road.” (Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993.)
Off-road wheel washing and on-road cleaning and wash-downs are the minimum required. It is a sad state of affairs to even have to highlight the issue. Individuals, voluntary organisations and private companies all have duties and responsibilities alongside any privilege. It costs nothing to be nice.