In a shock Instagram post, Portuguese soccer man Cristiano Ronaldo has left his strongest hint yet that he may see out his glittering career playing in the Irish League for the struggling Dungannon Swifts.
The local Portuguese community in the town have been wildly celebrating the possibility of their national icon donning the blue jersey of the Swifts and have already purchased over 300 season tickets for the 350-seated stadium for the next two years.
Ronaldo, who turns 37 next February, was photographed reading an Images of Ireland book focused on Dungannon itself in a bid to possibly familiarise himself with important places such as the library, Hagan’s Bar and the Hill of the O’Neill and Ranfurly House Arts and Visitors’ Centre. It is also thought that he may join the leisure centre if prices remain competitive.
Long time Swift’s fan Roger McAree added a word of caution:
“He’ll have to earn his place on the Swift’s side. And he won’t be on the free kicks. We’ve a young lad from Portadown joining next year and he’s meant to be pure class at the dead balls. So, it’s great news and all but he won’t be given star treatment.”
When asked about the news, a friend of Ronaldo’s agent’s brother said ‘I’m not ruling anything out’.
Meanwhile, Dungannon GAA club’s footballers have also announced a new signing of sorts to rival the possible news of Ronaldo going to the Swifts. They’ve purchased a new coffee machine but will only share it with the hurlers on Thursdays.
Want-away Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is said to be veering towards a move to Dungannon Swifts after it emerged that the Northern Ireland Fly Fishing Association are to run trials at the Dungannon Park lake this month.
An avid fly-fisher, Sterling is reportedly seething after he was overlooked for the England fly-fishing team for the international championships later in the summer. Insiders claim he points the finger firmly at his manager Brendan Rodgers who refused to allow him to leave training early the day of the English trials.
Sterling, who has played 16 times for the England soccer team, is also said to be impressed at the new statue erection in Pomeroy ‘The Lady and the Lark‘ and sees this as a chance to settle down and have children who’ll be immersed in such local culture.
Close friend Joshua Bolt added:
“There are just so many signs now pointing towards the Swifts. The new statue in Pomeroy, the fly fishing trials, the copious parking space in the town, the vibrant anti-social element, Woolworths, the close proximity to the culturally diverse Moygashel. If there is a God, he wants Raheem at Stangmore Park, running up and down that wing against the likes of Ballinamallard. The stuff of dreams really.”
Dungannon Swifts PR trainee Jack Alad admitted the club were not sure whether to give Sterling the green light or not:
“I think this Raheem boy is reading all the great stuff about Dungannon but he needs maybe to stay a night or two over here. We’ve had them dodgy door-to-door pillow sellers recently and then the boxing session outside the Fort last week. It’s not paradise completely and maybe the Raheem boy is listening to the wrong advisers.”
Meanwhile, Sterling’s agent has tabled a motion to re-name Dungannon if he does sign for the Swifts, due to the word ‘dung’ being at the start of the name and the stick he’ll get from his England team-mates. The transfer fee is reportedly around the £50m mark and a free feed in Viscounts.
Total council debt in Tyrone has spiralled to £19.8m, it has been revealed, with Omagh’s local authority accounting for £10.3m, and Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough’s standing at £5.2m. Magherafelt is the only local authority which is currently debt-free.
Commenting on Omagh’s £10.3m debt with only the flimsiest grasp of the scale of the problem, Councillor Enda McMann said,
“Over £10 million? Jaysus. That’s unbelievable isn’t it? Although to be honest it was a mighty night out”, he said sheepishly. “We were all in Tally’s and the hard stuff was flowing. I didn’t think we spent that much, but I suppose thon flaming sambuca yolks don’t pay for themselves, do they? £10 million. Eff me pink. We shouldn’t have ordered all them sandwiches. That can’t have helped”.
McMann spent all day Wednesday ‘doing his bit for the people’ to re-coup some of Omagh’s portion of the loss, by looking for spare change down the back of all the chairs and seats in the Council building, and investigating whether refunds can still be obtained at newsagents on empty bottles of pop.
In the event that these measures fail to recover the loss, Omagh Council last night called an emergency general meeting and produced a number of hare-brained, half-baked, ill-considered, knee-jerk solutions to be put into place from 1st December, including: –
• Parking charges for all cattle. Standing in any one part of a field – first 20 minutes free, then 50 pence for every hour, or part thereof. Discounts on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
• Auctioning off every Dungannon Swifts player. Reserve price £200 each, or £250 with extended warranty.
• Renting the Garvaghey Complex to Manchester United as a spare training ground.
• Controversial ‘Tayto Tax’. Charge of £100 on any member of the public eating crisps during daylight hours in an open space. £125 for grab bags.
• Privatising Hugo Duncan. Again.
• Sightseeing tours of the new Newell’s store in Coalisland.
In the meantime Omagh Council has ordered an investigation into how the debt could have spiralled out of control. It will be undertaken by an independent analyst, and is likely to cost £300,000.