When Liam Brady tricked Sicilian spectators into thinking he was throwing a tantrum

Philip Quinn recounts the story which took place during a media match in Italy on Off The Ball's Sunday papers

Liam Brady,

Liam Brady of the Republic of Ireland ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

One of the disappointing aspects of Liam Brady's career was that he never had the opportunity to go to a major tournament with Ireland.

The Arsenal and Juventus legend won 72 caps after winning his debut cap in 1974 but unfortunately missed both Euro 88 and Italia 90.

The Italia 90 side of that story came up on this afternoon's Off The Ball Sunday Papers with Irish Daily Mail sports reporter Philip Quinn recounting that to our own Richie McCormack.

"I remember thinking at the time that Jack Charlton got an easy ride. He didn't bring Liam Brady to the World Cup in 1990. Brady played 44 matches that season for West Ham," said Quinn, although as he went on to say, Brady did make himself available for selection ahead of the 1990 World Cup if needed.

"I think Jack had an issue with Brady. Brady was a strong character, he's a strong-willed guy and Jack decided 'I don't need him.'" 

Quinn also mused about the impact Brady could have had against Italy in the quarter-finals had he been brought on as a sub, given how revered and respected he was by Italians who had watched him at Juve in particular.

But Brady did play one match in Italy - not for Big Jack's side though - as Quinn then recounted.

 Quinn also mentioned this final act from Brady in May 1990

"There was a media match on the island of Sicily and it was a place called Terrasini and I remember they put up posters 'Irish vs Local Terrasini team, Liam Brady playing' and about 3,000 people turned up on this pitch on the side of a hill on a beautiful sunny evening on the northern coast of Sicily, all to watch Liam Brady. They were all local," he began about a game in which he himself played.

"We had a manager, the late Peter O'Neill who was the Sunday World sports editor - lovely man - and he was in charge of the team. Brady ran the show and no one could get the ball off him.

"With about 10 minutes to go, Peter calls from the line 'Liam, Liam!'. Liam turns around and says 'What? Me?'. 'Yeah, you. You're off!' And Brady points and puts his fingers to his chest, raises his eyebrows: 'What! Me? I'm off?'"

"'[Peter says] 'yeah, you're not doing it for me, Liam. Come off!' Brady trudges towards the sideline and then he changes direction and heads towards the dressing room, takes off his jersey, flings it onto pitch and storms off." 

However, there was a catch as Quinn found out when he entered the dressing room.

"Liam appeared and there was a big hug [with Peter]. 'Well gaffer, it worked' [said Brady]. It was just a ploy to get the locals all gobsmacked at this." 

Listen to the full paper review on the podcast player: