Just the 27 years ago today, John Aldridge had an infamous altercation with the gentleman in the yellow hat, who really existed nowhere in the firmament of international football. Jack Charlton was quite right to be indignant.
On one of the hottest days Irish sport has ever encountered, Ireland failed to build on their famous win over Italy in Giants Stadium a few days before, and were beaten 2-1 by Mexico. The second group game of Ireland's 1994 World Cup adventure would take Jack Charlton's men to Orlando, Florida, and a midday kick-off on the 24th June. Made sense.
Naturally, the Irish players struggled with the conditions, and found themselves behind to a Luis Garcia goal. Charlton rang the changes, taking off the fair haired, and absolutely bolloxed Steve Staunton and Tommy Coyne. Jason McAteer came on, but John Aldridge was left standing on the sideline. Meanwhile, Garcia scored again to make it 2-0 against the 10 men of Ireland.
In a brutal day for Irish football, the ensuing madness and chaos on the sideline remains a high point even nearly 30 years on. Aldo absolutely lost it with a mysterious FIFA official in a blue blazer and yellow hat. Lucky not to sent off, Aldridge eventually went on and scored a crucial goal that would eventually get Ireland through on goal difference. Meanwhile, it was Jack Charlton's turn to have a go at yellow hat man. Charlton ended up getting a $15,000 fine and was banned from the touchline foe Ireland's final group game against Norway.
Between Aldo losing it, the FIFA offficial preposterous costume, Charlton's palm pointing, and, especially, George Hamilton's eloquent fury to accompany the images, it endures as one of the funniest moments in Irish sport.
Naturally, as with any 27th anniversary, an irresistible YouTube rabbit hole awaits to anyway to dare stick their toe in, and we were rewarded this morning with the rediscovery of a frankly magnificent tribute song to the entire incident by My Brother Woody, with wonderful lyrics recounting the entire debacle. The bridge and the chorus alone are just perfect.
Three minutes, you fucking cheat,
Yellow Hat, you don't know how much this means.
100 degrees plus heat,
You better make a hasty hasty retreat.
Move outta my way Yellow Hat,
You're a dickhead and a twat.
Yellow Hat you're gonna get a slap,
And no piece of paper's gonna hold me back.
The song brilliant concludes with George Hamilton's underplayed summing up on the entire situation during his commentary:
"And I have to say the Americans have been very fond of their peaked caps and self-importance."
Jack Charlton later described the FIFA official as "an Egyptian".