Before the days of Jack Charlton and his fantastic run of results with The Republic of Ireland national team, Irish football was not much famous for great results and international recognition.
In a way to build a better league and try to find steps to develop, they made a number of desperate attempts to find the answers in bringing in players who had stopped playing or being in an interim part of their journey.
With the football focus totally other parts of the arena, some of the boys from the past, Charlton, Moore, Banks and Best among those also German international Uwe Seeler made a number of guest star appearances in a league far away from the glam.
A number of Irish businessmen involved in teams around the island, were eager to attract bigger crowds at football games and their answer was easy, get the legends in and play them, people will crowd up to see them.
Bobby Charlton had just left Manchester United and had a relatively difficult time in management with Preston North End. He decided to call it a day at Deepdale and in his mind never again go into management again, instead he became a bit of a footballing traveler.
Waterford became his next adventure in football. The Irish club made a deal with Charlton about a special payment plan, but as opponents, would not settle for this type of plan, Waterford had problems to keep the payments rolling and Charlton left after only three games played and one goals scored.
Another former Manchester United great, George Best, had also during this year of 1976 spent time in Ireland with Cork Celtic, playing also him just three games before his contract was terminated, Best failing to turn up for games.
England World Cup winner and hat-trick goal scorer from the the final, Geoff Hurst was also attracted by Cork Celtic and as in the World Cup final, he scored three goals for Cork Celtic in his three games.
A number of years before these three legendary names attended the Irish league, the former Everton goal shot sensation Dixie Dean also had a brief spell in Ireland, turning out for Sligo Rovers.
A myth about Trevor Brooking, being a one club man, is under treat since he after retiring from his West Ham United duties played in the Irish league, two appearances for Cork City is of course enough to no longer be talked about as a one club man.
Gordon Banks turned out for St Patricks Athletic, kept a clean sheet, but it was nothing more than temporary, playing only that one game before moving on to NASL and Fort Lauderdale Strikers were Banks again showed his best skills.
Maybe the most amazing story of them all about Irish adventures is the one of Uwe Seeler. The former West German international who captained his nation in the 1966 World Cup final v. England. He came out of retirement to play for Cork Celtic six years after his last and final game for Hamburger Sportsverein.
The one club man, Seeler attended an official league game in the Irish league scoring two goals in this single appearance, and the myth of a one club man as the one of Brooking, is no longer the truth, but again great to see another hero finding his way to help out in a rather odd place as Cork. Him and his former team mate Franz-Josef Honig turned out for the Irish club as part of a “friendly gesture” for a fellow Adidas representative.
The strange part of this arrangement was that Seeler thought he were playing a “friendly” fundrasing game, but it was a full official league game and the myth of Uwe Seeler and his on club man status was no longer a fact, despite having a great number of offers to go abroad his only adventure was a single game in the Irish league even not knowing he was playing.
Of course Irish born players have from time to time made the tour back to their natives, and Johnny Giles who both managed the national team and club team Shamrock Rovers tried in his best way to bring in a professional attitude, but this ended as a “dream not fulfilled” with the former Leeds United great moving to management duties in the NASL and later a new and short stay at West Bromwich Albion.
To also see the names of Rodney Marsh, Terry McDermott, Ian Callaghan, Damien Duff, Jimmy Johnstone and Peter Lorimer among those who have actually officially played league football in the Irish league, not one of those getting much attention from the World of football.
To see the Irish football league being a reason to get the football history changed, taking the mick out of old footballing myths and a number of songs to be rewritten is great fun facts to keep track on!