The November 2009 World Cup qualifier playoff was brought to light once more last night. We understand many don't want to hear about it. Ireland binged on outrage to such an extent in the weeks following that many now never want to see the goal ever again. The 33rd team business was especially mortifying. The moment we overplayed our hand in the area of garnering sympathy.
The show was Off the Ball and the context was Joe Ledley punching the ball away in the Crystal Palace box against Manchester United. The Man United players rushed the referee Craig Pawson almost in unison.
Kev Kilbane has some experience of such scenarios. When Thierry Henry expertly controlled the ball with his palm and poked the ball into William Gallas's path, the Irish players all turned at once and scampered towards the referee, their hands in the air and their mouths agape.
Was Martin Hansson's confidence in his judgement affected at all by the ferocity of the protests. Not according to Kilbane.
We chased the referee down. His words still ring in my ears. "I have made 100% the correct decision.
I was like, "No, you haven't pal. No, you've not mate! Go and watch that again."
However, in the documentary which followed Hansson through the 2009 calendar year in his quest to referee in the 2010 World Cup, Hansson gave the filmmaker a different impression of his feelings during the Irish players' protest. He also discussed the rough aftermath in the referee's room in the Stade de France.
You understand there is something wrong when so many players protest at the same time. But there could have been a lot of different reasons.
Afterwards, we went inside to the dressing room and hugged each other, even though it didn't feel like it normally does. There were no messages and no contact from the outside so we were starting to wonder what actually happened. We started to understand something was seriously wrong when the referee observer didn't turn up.
Then after fifteen minutes, the observer entered the dressing room. He explained that this was the heaviest moment in his life as an observer. The heaviest steps he ever took. He told us we were fantastic during the game. We got it all! But it was a handball before the goal and that decided the game. I broke down completely.