Ken Doherty: A weeks of contrasts

from scary moments in Tommy Tiernan's 'psychiatric chair' on RTE to Wembley highs as United win

by Ken Doherty
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Well, that was a weekend to remember as I kicked it off by facing the music on the Tommy Tiernan show on RTE  last Saturday night and then shuffled my tv snooker commentary to watch my beloved Manchester United win their first trophy in six years on Sunday evening at Wembley.

For some reason I was very nervous initially when introduced to talk to Tommy. And with good reason. There is always a worry when going on such shows that personal stuff is discussed and that’s what happened when he brought up  my marital separation etc. I expected to answer those sort of questions but  he gave me such a grilling that I felt for a few moments as if I was in the psychiatrist’s chair. It was a bit scary in that segment if I’m truthful but maybe that makes for better television.

However the overall show I found very enjoyable as I know Tommy well. In fact I was at his wedding and I slagged him after being introduced  that I was amazed it took so long to invite me onto his show. His reply was great: “Well, it’s not up to me who comes on,” he pointed out with a typical smirk.

I am a great fan of the format and what the programme has done for interviews – except for those Tommy  silences which when you are opposite him are very unnerving. I watched Roy Keane recently and before that Jimmy White, my mate from snooker and I must say I thought both programmes were compulsive.

I don’t know how my stint went down but I was gobsmacked at the feedback from people – all of which was extremely positive.

It was some week for Manchester United. It is still too early to say the club is back in the big time but certainly Erik Ten Hag is guiding them in the right direction. I was commentating on Thursday night when they were hosting Barcelona in Old Trafford and I have to admit to periods of unprofessionalism in the commentary booth when I was also watching the match on my phone while operating behind the microphone.

From going a goal down to dominating the runaway La Liga leaders, United showed great resolve and togetherness in the way they won the match pulling up.

On Sunday there was a great sense of occasion at Wembley with the black and white of Newcastle fans dominating outside the ground as up to 100,000 were said to travel to be part of the occasion even though there were only 33,000 tickets available for the Geordie section.

I think Newcastle fans thought this would be their day but it wasn’t to be as United won a run of the mill game with two first half strikes. I was delighted that our drought of six years was over but part of me felt sorry for the Magpie fans as they are a lovely people, love their club and it is over 50 years since Bob Moncur brought the ten Inter City Fairs Cup back to Tyneside. What a long wait that is but I’m sure with the money now at their back and a good manager in Eddie Howe, they will be contending more often than has been the case for the past few decades.

It’s hard to know where United are but the games are coming thick and fast. They now face West Ham and Liverpool on last night (Wednesday) in the FA Cup and their biggest rivals at Anfield in the league when both sides will be desperately trying to get bragging rights with a victory.

All is not right at Liverpool at the moment but Jurgen Klopp has proven himself a resourceful and clever manager and reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated. Having said that, it would mean a lot if Ten Hag could do the double over a manager I rate up there with Pep Guardiola as one of the best in the business.

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