herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Anna Nolan: Keane a good Ireland boss?

I heard a suggestion on the radio that Roy Keane might make a good manager for the Ireland football team.

Call me stupid, but surely one must have succeeded as a manager in previous jobs to be considered for a future job.

And then I hear that Gary Lineker says that Keane has the potential to be a great manager, IF he has great players.

Gary, if I had an all-star team, I would be a brilliant manager.

The challenge is in making good players better, and helping young talented players reach their potential.

How boring to just work with top-class players.

We pay through the nose for insurance but it's sod all use when we need it

I WAS driving to Enfield on Saturday morning. It was freezing cold and the sides of the motorway were white with frost. There was ice visible on the side of the motorway too as, 6km from the toll, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a small car go past me in the fast lane.

Half a second later I saw the back wheels of the car shift sickeningly to the right then to the left. And then everything went into slow motion.

Nanoseconds

The car spun around, crashed into the middle section of the motorway, then spun right in front of me.

It's one of those moments when they say your life flashes in front of you but the first thought that occurred to me in those awful nanoseconds was that there should have been opera music playing. It was like the sort of scene from a movie where a car spins wildly out of control in slow motion as Madame Butterfly is heard in the background.

After what seemed like an age but was surely just a few moments, the car came to a stop on the hard shoulder.

I pulled over, put on my hazards and ran back to see if the driver was okay. A quiet, small Japanese woman emerged shaking and looked at me, eyes wide, like a frightened bird. I put my arms around her, held her very tightly and told her, "It's okay, you're okay".

When she was able to speak, her first words were, "I need to call my insurance company, I'm covered for roadside damage". It was 8.20am.

What happened next was the singularly most infuriating episode of my life.

The Japanese woman called Quinn Insurance as I paced up and down trying to keep warm and recovering from the trauma. After five minutes she handed the phone to me, clearly upset. "I can't get through to the right department," she said.

I imagined it was because her English wasn't great but I was to learn during the subsequent hour I spent with her, as we shared cigarettes that we didn't want to smoke, that she spoke perfect English.

Sore

I took the phone from her and called Quinn. Option after impersonal option came up. I tried three of them. None worked. I called five times in all. Finally, I got through to roadside assistance. But the woman on the phone told me that I had reached breakdown roadside assistance, not accident roadside assistance.

I screamed. I told the woman that we needed help and that no one was answering the phone to us. The lady apologised, told us the driver would have to make a claim before accident roadside assistance came.

"Make a claim?" I roared. "The woman was nearly killed. You're telling me she now has to make a claim from the side of a freezing road?"

The woman apologised once more and gave us another number. To the claims office this time.

We duly called and got a message, this time saying they were not open on Saturdays until 9.30am. The Japanese woman began to cry. I dug deep and remained calm, struggling not to smash my phone into the ground.

In the end we decided to call a private garage and after a further 30 minutes our ordeal ended.

Well, mine did.

My Japanese friend was left bruised and sore -- not from the accident but with the appalling lack of service from her insurer as she waited, shocked, freezing and stranded at the side of the road.

Taste

It was never made clear, in all the phone calls I made on her behalf, what option to choose in the case of an accident.

The bitter taste left in my mouth to this moment is that if this woman had crashed as she did at midnight, would she have had to wait for nine and a half hours before she could have "made a claim" and be cared for by the company she is paying good money to?

What if she'd had young children in the car and no one had stopped to help her?

It was the first time I'd seen first hand the bureaucracy so many doubtless deal with even on foot of near tragedy.

And I'm furious.

Tom Cruise in his cockpit does it for me every time

SITTING down to Top Gun on Sunday night, I was reminded -- what is there not to love about this film?

Silver-mirror Ray-Bans, leather pilot jackets, Kelly McGillis, fighter planes shooting the lights out of each other, the sweet melody of You've Lost That Loving Feeling and -- my greatest secret guilty pleasure of all these -- Tom Cruise's flexing jaw muscles.

It's the simple things, girls.

Don't knock Team Beckham

DON'T deny it. You thought it wouldn't last. You thought they would go down the Hollywood divorce route -- and for a short time there, I'd have placed money on it -- and we all would have said "I kneeeew it".

But David and Victoria Beckham are proving their critics wrong -- and are having a fourth baby to boot.

Flop

I remember when seedy claims were made about David Beckham and Rebecca Loos while he was playing for Real Madrid. And I thought, this really is the end. But it seems the whole furore has only made them stronger.

Victoria is a fascinating woman. She could have given up after the Spice Girls. She could have bowed out after Dane Bowers. She could have hung up her Manolo Blahniks when the Spice Girls reunion ran short and was essentially a flop.

But Victoria has a hugely successful clothing business. My favourite pair of jeans is a pair of her Rock & Republic brand. They make my bum rock! What with jeans, perfumes, sunglasses and other fashion items, this hard-working mother has ticked all the dream boxes.

Mrs Becks sealed her status as a fashion icon in her own right by appearing on the cover of Vogue three times in the space of a year.

Smile

The news of the Beckhams expecting their fourth child, I think, will bring a wee smile to many people's faces.

David and Victoria are working and achieving so much in their lives and they want another baby to add to their gorgeous little family.

It's hard to knock that. And I've no time for anyone that does.

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