Peace Hasn't the Ghost of a Chance

Article excerpt


IN THE bout between Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy, the sensational headlines tell only half the story.

The sub-plot to this public spat involves two ghost writers whose professional loyalty to their clients is matched only by the enmity between them.

Eamon Dunphy, former Republic of Ireland international turned media scourge of Jack Charlton and by extension McCarthy, and the equally respected Irish journalist Cathal Dervan, may be members of the same profession - but there is no sense of kinship between them.

Yesterday Dervan, who has ghosted McCarthy's soon-to-be-serialised World Cup book, underlined the depth of ill-feeling by telling Sportsmail: 'Dunphy tried to box my lights out at the 1990 World Cup.' This is the same Eamon Dunphy who, three years ago, found himself in an Irish court being sued for libel after being accused of calling Dervan a ' journalistic lowlife' in his Sunday Independent column.

There has been sniping in the other direction as well, Dervan certainly not being averse to slinging the odd written jibe towards Dunphy.

And, if all of this sounds like a mere playground spat, just consider the role played by a ghost writer for a moment.

He or she is entrusted to take the random thoughts of a footballer, manager, model or D-list weather person and turn them into prose which is lucid and - more to the point - interesting enough to merit a decent serialisation payout.

At the weekend Dunphy admitted that he had used 'artistic licence' with Keane and been guilty of 'paraphrasing', hardly the most surprising confession given that a good five per cent of sportswriting involves tickling nonsensical quotes into something more readable.

If you are the celeb putting your name on the front cover, then it's probably a good idea to employ someone whose sense of artistic interpretation can be trusted. Someone on your side of the fence, so to speak.

It would hardly make sense, for example, for Terry Venables to invite one of his 'enemies' in the Press to interpret his words for an autobiography.

Keane had no doubts about Dunphy, a man with as little time for Charlton and McCarthy as, evidently, the player himself. …