Pompey tour diary: Coach driver takes lookalike banter in his stride
This trip to Sligo has done its bit to reinforce just about every Irish stereotype going.
Not that it’s a bad thing, of course, as the hosts threw down the red carpet for the visit of Pompey on Wednesday night.
Just a pity that didn’t extend to the technology or weather conditions, which were everything you’d associate with the coastal seaport in the north-west of Ireland.
The two-hour plus journey from the club’s base in Enfield in County Meath showcased the kind of rugged terrain which made you realise why this land is known as the Emerald Isle.
The route was expertly negotiated by the club’s coach driver, who’s quickly picked up a couple of celebrity monikers from Blues staff.
The bouffon fair-haired driver’s likeness to Stuart McCall and Tomas Brolin were taken in his stride.
Not many people in the world would appreciate being compared to Donald Trump though, but our thick-skinned man at the wheel handled the light-hearted ribbing well enough.
Then the extended welcome afforded Pompey, their staff and a certain Paul Cook really got going.
You see, three cup trophies and guiding a side into Europe for the first time in 16 years does seem to do wonders for your popularity.
That was seen with Cook handed a civic reception ahead of the game before being mobbed on Pompey’s arrival at The Showgrounds.
The summer weather kept with the surroundings, too, with the heavens opening moments after the full-time whistle.
And then came the ultimate modern journalistic test for the Pompey press pack as anything of a technological base disappeared into a Sligo black hole.
Wi-Fi? Forget it? 4G? Pah.
3G? Nah. Dial-up? Anything?
The test of delivering online and newspaper coverage becomes an all-together more stressful experience as a result.
At least we had the delightful Sligo press steward, Keith O’Dwyer, to ease our soaring blood pressure.
An incessant array of facts and figures were delivered including a Sligo sub being the brother of Westlife’s Markus Feehily.
But then came the incredible revelation Pompey were trending third in Ireland on Twitter.
Unbelievable for a whole host of reasons.
– JORDAN CROSS