RTÉ football pundit and soon-to-be Second Captains podcast host Richie Sadlier ventured behind the podcasting Iron Curtain to join us for The Balls.ie Football Show this week, and regaled us with tales of all sorts.
He has since admitted it felt like cheating on the Second Captains lads, but for what it's worth, it takes two to tango.
Among the topics discussed were his almost getting in a fight with Steve Staunton in Coppers after criticising Stan's Irish team in his newspaper column, along with an infamous masturbation incident at the 1999 U20s World Cup in Nigeria. There was also plenty of actual football chat in between; Wenger, 'fan tv', Ireland, idiots in football and more.
You can listen to the full pod below:
One of the listeners' highlights from the conversation with Sadlier was his tales of the RTÉ studios behind the scenes, and in particular the thoughtful welcomes he received from both John Giles and the late, great Bill O'Herlihy when he first broke into the punditry first team.
Sadlier recalled how Giles reached out to him when he heard the former Milwall striker was going to be joining him on the panel for Premier Soccer Saturday:
John Giles rang me before I did my first Premier Soccer Saturday programme. He was brilliant. We met in a place in Terenure, I think, and we sat for three hours. He was just full of stories and advice and encouragement.
I mean, he was questioning me a little bit - I'm sure he was sussing me out - but it was... Like, he didn't have to do that. He had no reason at all to be as welcoming or as generous with his time as he was, and likewise Eamon and Liam.
It was the magic of Billo, however, which resonated with many listeners. Sadlier revealed how the legendary RTÉ broadcaster would occasionally cast a twinkling eye in his direction if the former had riled his fellow panellists:
...And particularly Bill. Like, Bill was brilliant. He would often kind of pull you aside before a show for one or two words. Even small things, on air or off air.
We'd go to an ad break, and if I had said something, he might have sensed...did I doubt what I had just said? Or did it cause a bit of conflict? And he'd just wink at ya. Just a little wink. No big show of anything - the other two wouldn't even realise it's been done. And you'd just settle into the seat a bit more.
And there'd be a little walk to the makeup room afterwards where you remove your makeup, and there'd be a few little bits of words from him. I never got any other sense there than that I was welcomed.
It speaks to the character of O'Herlihy that, for the vast majority of us who never met him or worked with him, it's exactly the impression we would have had from watching him on our screens for so many years. No doubt he and his friendly smile are still missed in the halls Montrose.