Live

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Repeat: Off The Ball
Don't be late for dinner! | Fe...
Soccer

Don't be late for dinner! | Fergie's trip to Tallaght to sign Stephen Bradley

Mario Bowden
Mario Bowden

16:51 18 Apr 2021

Before going into management, Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley was regarded as one of the brightest prospects coming through the ranks in Irish football. 

Bradley played his football at Lourdes Celtic in Dublin and represented the Republic of Ireland all the way through at underage. At the age of 16, Bradley was pipped by Arsenal – having impressed their manager, Arsene Wenger.

Fergie coming to town

But Arsenal was not the only club with their eye on Bradley at the time. Liverpool's Gerard Houllier and Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson. Speaking on OTB's Sunday Paper Review, Johnny Ward was quick to recount an anecdote of Bradley's of meeting Sir Alex – shared in David Sneyd Business Post piece.

Sneyd writes: "Bernadette Bradley was beginning to worry. Not because the Manchester United manager was on his way. They were well acquainted at this point. Bernadette - from Jobstown in Tallaght - was already on first name terms with the three men in charge of the biggest football clubs in England.

2 April 2021; Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley following his side's victory in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ward continues reading from the paper: "It was 1999 and Stephen her 15-year-old son was the most sought after prospect in Ireland. This was the year United did the treble and Ferguson had always one eye on the future. He wanted Bradley, a gifted midfielder to be part of it at Old Trafford. But as Ferguson got nearer to the house, there was still no sign of Stephen. He was on a nearby street, playing football."

"That Bradley story belongs to another era. Bradley got a professional contract by 16. He was a millionaire by 18. That is staggering!" exclaims Ward.

Where is the talent coming through now?

Although the anecdote was all in good spirits, Ward was quick to stress that the Irish talent coming through the academies, like Bradley, the pool is getting smaller.

"In the sense of the Irish footballers that now come through, we have become an absolute irrelevance in the Premier League. The days of the Charlton days at Liverpool, Man United with Roy Keane. It was very common for Irish players to be in the Premier League, but those days are gone." says Ward.

"We've gone massively down the pecking order in a globalised league," says Ward.

In more uplifting Irish youngster news, 18-year-old Andrew Omobamidele has helped Norwich to regain promotion back to the Premier League. The Leixlip local has impressed in five appearances this season.

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Football Johnny Ward OTB Sunday Papers Shamrock Rovers Sir Alex Ferguson Stephen Bradley

Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

Up next

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

05:00 AM-07:00 AM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 AM-07:30 AM

Share

LIVE: OTB AM

LIVE: OTB AM

07:30 AM-10:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

05:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

06:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Newsround

LIVE: Newsround

07:00 PM-07:30 PM

Share

LIVE: Off The Ball

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:30 PM-08:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

08:00 PM-09:00 PM

Share

LIVE: The Football Show

LIVE: The Football Show

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

10:00 PM-12:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on