Things change in life.
Situations crop up that alter our thinking, and on occasion force us to face up to our own mortality, incidents that are often referred to as life changing.
For the face of Meath football, Gerry Gorman, it happened in 2017, when he fell victim to a heart problem which while it didn’t deliver him to deaths door certainly had him on a taxi ride to that location.
It was in football terms a game changer, something he now readily concedes.
‘If I didn’t know it already it made me realise that of course football, I don’t like referring to the ‘soccer’ title to the game, will go ahead with or without my input . My lifestyle has slowed down both physically and mentally which allows me cope with the restrictions resulting from my ailment.’
Did the time, and it was lengthy, in hospital, allow for reflection on a life spent for the main part, driving the game forward in the county, and in hindsight would he do anything different.
The answer is immediate, ‘You might reflect on things, fair enough, but overall why worry about what you cannot change, the clock doesn’t stand still or wind back for any of us.’
While the health issues may have led to a slowing down in his pace of life, Gorman, in what could be attributed, to the Kilmessan man that lies dormant within, still won’t back down from a row, and can express his point as forcefully as ever.
That was perhaps best illustrated when he publicly attempted to point out last year that former FAI chief executive John Delaney, had done some good thing during his tenure, even allowing for the undoubted problems he had caused.
It didn’t win him any friends amongst those in the media, and elsewhere, clamoring for Delaney’s head at the time something that didn’t worry him then and doesn’t unduly concern him even now.
‘Some just focused on what they clearly had an agenda to focus on, without any facility to widen the lens and feature the bigger picture.
‘A small few appear to have an obsession with the whole affair as they repeatedly regurgitate the same line over and over, even now fifteen months later.
‘One I could describe as nasty. Likewise I will focus on one aspect which I too have my own theory on – There were calls for NEFL Clubs to distance themselves from the statement I made – One done so, and was vaguely endorsed by one more from a total of fifty four. That stat tells its own story.’
As might be expected Gorman even has his own stance on the recent forwarding of a letter to UEFA, by, FAI council member, Nixon Morton, criticising the new regime in Abbotstown, a letter that at face value appears to have John Delaney’s dictation writ large all over it.
‘That is a theory that falls in line with the modern era, where evidence is sometimes not required as for some it tends to nullify a dramatic story.
‘It is basically a Council member exercising his democratic right under rule, the merits of which is for others to deliberate on.
‘It’s a bit early to pass judgment, on the current top table in the FAI, at the moment. We need to give them an opportunity to deliver on the visionary document that was produced prior to three of the authors slotting in to top positions within the association.
‘The effect of the COVID pandemic has obviously slowed down progress, so let’s wait and see.’
In over four decades of involvement, Gorman has seen and heard it all, he recalls one player appearing at an MDL, as it was then, disciplinary hearing, to face a charge of punching an opponent, and declaring, ‘I didn’t hit him, he ran into my fist’, and he credits another local football fanatic as offering him the best advice he ever received.
‘From a very early stage, Frank Henry taught me a valuable lesson. Never attempt to use your position to influence an advantage for one team at the expense of another.
‘Always address matters with an open mind, and be honest with yourself and you do not have to possess a good memory when trying to portray situations, as facts can speak for themselves.’
Football, within Meath, has, without question come a long way, since Gorman and his cohorts kick started it into life back in 1980, yet it still has to take the final step and try to place a team in the Airtricity League of Ireland, if he has any regrets in his career, that certainly is not one of them.
‘Personally I would have no regrets about that as it would be far too cost prohibitive.
‘Kilkenny and Kildare are prime examples. The support base is quite simply not out there to sustain involvement at that level in the majority of counties’.
The support base may not exist in Meath, but the facilities certainly do, and the MDL grounds on Navan’s Trim road, are a constant reminder to Gorman as to why he got involved in the first place.
‘In February 1988, after just a little more than seven years in existence, I accepted the keys of a twenty three acre site close to Navan in the name of the trustees of our League.
‘Two years later it was fully paid for with monies entirely from our own resources.
‘To this day it remains the second largest of its type in the country, and fares well when compared to other leagues, the majority of which, do not own, or lease a site of their own including the two oldest and largest in the country.
‘When I took possession of those keys it reminded me of why I got into it initially.’
Blessed with a sharp memory, there would be few better across the nation at answering quiz questions on English football in the sixties and seventies, it is greeted with disbelief by many when Gorman, a one time die-hard West Ham fan who regularly travelled to Upton Park when it was far more difficult to do so than it is now, says he has zero interest in the modern game at an elite level.
‘It’s just not football as I once knew it, I could never get my head around as to how any one person could be paid over £250, 000 per week.
‘Think about it. It is like having a contract that guarantees receiving a winning lottery ticket every month. ! Insane.’
The opinionated Kilmessan man has emerged once more.