Lunchtime can be a trying time in one’s schedule. Supposedly a break from the stress and rigours of work, it brings its own challenges. Often faced with the indignity of eating alone, I try and occupy myself with reading. Andre Agassi’s memoirs are what I’m flicking through at present. And the montomy of it. My home-made ham and lettuce sandwiches seem to get blander with each passing day. So it was refreshing to have something to occupy me for the hour, or hour and a bit as it turned out. An interview with an Irish footballing icon. I strolled over to the National College of Ireland, and took my place towards the back of the tiered-seating in the lecture hall. Right on schedule, wearing a sharp triple breasted light-grey suit, in walked Paul McGrath.
To say that this season has been a hard slog for many of the new faces to the Premier League would be like saying that Ireland found itself slightly unprepared for the freezing weather in 2010. Whilst many of the big money signings have struggled for form and fitness, those sneaking up from the old second division are still adapting to their new surroundings. Gone are the days of Kevin Phillips hitting 30 goals in a debut season, and Marcus Stewart threatening to gate-crash the top-scorers chart. These days’ strikers are having a tougher time of it. How they must lust for the generosity of Championship defences.
A new decade has crept up from seemingly nowhere, just as most of us are still getting used to the idea of a new millennium. At moments like this, we turn to reminisce of the ten years that have passed and reflect on times gone by. Picking an XI of Premier League players for these ten years seems like an unenviable task. However, after much consideration, plenty of soul-searching and the putting aside of many personal grievances, I have constructed a team. A team that does not only include players that have excelled from 2000-2009, but one that as a unit would be a formidable side of balance, power and attacking threat. So here we go: