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The Story Of How A Bunch Of Randomers Ended Up In The Official Ireland USA '94 Team Photo

The Story Of How A Bunch Of Randomers Ended Up In The Official Ireland USA '94 Team Photo
By Balls Team

Addressing those of you born in that benighted decade of the 1980s. That photo that you had on your wall of the gilded collection of Irish footballers bound for the US of A is nothing short of a fraud.

Seven years before Karl Power lined out for Manchester United ahead of their Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich, a large cohort of imposters stood in for the official Ireland team photo in advance of the 1994 World Cup.

Ireland were playing Russia in a pre-World Cup friendly on 23rd March, 1994. Two days beforehand, it was time for the official team photo, the one that would adorn the bedroom walls of kids that summer.

The only snag was a number of players did not travel across for the far from vital warm-up against the Russians.

Aston Villa and Manchester United were scheduled to meet in the Coca Cola Cup Final the following Sunday (it was the last year for many a year that United would condescend to take the League Cup seriously).

Therefore, Paul McGrath, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Steve Staunton, Roy Keane and Denis Irwin were all absent. Terry Phelan and John Sheridan also couldn't travel for reasons that are more obscure.

The photo had to be taken, though. Have no fear, a solution was at hand. You see, back in those days, the FAI took a ruthlessly Soviet approach in dealing with such matters.


They decided to simply rope in a few rugby players from nearby Wanderers Football Club. Almost enough? They were still short so they enlisted a member of the Jury's hotel staff.

These noble volunteers (it's highly doubtful they were paid, but who knows?) would stand in amongst the Gary Kellys and Packie Bonners and Jason McAteers and smile for the photographer.

Thereafter, the association would engage in a touch of Stalinist jiggery-pokery and superimpose the heads of the absent superstars over the beaming faces of those humble club rugby players - and the Jury's guy.


However, the shoulders and upper torso would remain those of the original posers that day. As Miriam Lord, then of the Irish Independent, would sardonically write in her piece on the scandal;

OH RAY! What big shoulders you have. Roy, have you put on some weight? Andy, you're wasting away to almost nothing...

We're presuming, from the way Miriam referenced him, a rather slight scrum half stood in the position Andy Townsend was to occupy. Either way, the USA 94 team photo was exposed as a sham.


And here's the classic call-card that resulted from that incident. Can you perhaps spot the differences between this one and the original one at the top of the post?



See Also:  How Irish Fans Shocked The World And Filled The Giants Stadium For Ireland-Italy '94

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