The Irish, who many call 'Europe's Jamaicans', are celebrating St Patrick's Day today, so it's only fitting that we spoke to one of the most famous - and polarising Irishman of all time, ESPN football commentator Tommy Smyth.
Bald headed, witty, controversial and colourful, Tommy is a bit of a cult hero in some parts of the globe.
So, grab your Guinness ... or coffee and join the talk as our Irish friend weighs up the Reggae Boyz and so much more!
Let's Talk ...
André Lowe (AL): Hey, Tommy, thanks for joining us. I know you have a lovely wife (Treasa); how she puts up with you, I have no idea, but why don't you start by telling us some more about yourself.
Tommy Smyth (TS): My lovely wife thinks the world of you too, I am not sure how she ever came to that conclusion, I know the only reason you are having me on today is because it's March 17, and where else would you get an Irishman like me to talk to you on Ireland's National Holiday. Yes, I am Irish; I grew up in Ireland, in a family of five, in a rural part of Ireland, with about nine houses in the area. I grew up in a very loving family.
AL: You're now a well-established presence on ESPN. How did you get involved in broadcasting in the first place and how did you end up at ESPN in particular?
TS: In 1969, I missed the music of my own country living here in New York so I decided, that I would buy a hour on radio, and put on whatever kind of music I wanted to hear. From there, I graduated to Gaelic Park, which is located in the Bronx. It's a place that the Irish go each weekend to play their national games of hurling and Gaelic football. In 1994, when ESPN got the World Cup, I went knocking at their door for a job. I did not get a job on the World Cup but did get a job with ESPN International broadcasting to the Caribbean and man the rest was history!
AL: Now, I know you have already visited Jamaica. What would you say are the similarities between Jamaica and your native Republic of Ireland?
TS: I do love to have a good time, and I would say the similarities between the Jamaicans and the Irish are their love of life, love of a good time, and always willing to go out of their way to help someone who may be in need.
AL: Serious question. You have your worshipers but, you do know that sometimes you talk a bunch of ... well, let's say ... foolishness on the TV right? How do you deal with the criticism though?
TS: I have only one comment to make about my television comments, I would never say something just to get a reaction, I never tell a lie on television, this way I don't have to have a good memory.
AL: Well you regularly have Juventus near the top of your Top 25 rankings on ESPN PressPass, so as we say in Jamaica "Everything good!"
TS: Yea, you would love that but you should see the amount of abuse I take because I have 'Juve' in the top five. Apparently not everybody like you sleeps in Juventus PJs.
AL: I don't know what you're talking about; anyway, speaking about that Tommy's Top 25, what's your formula for determining that list?
TS: If you called Coca Cola, would they give you their formula? Well, you have the same chance of getting mine.
AL: Ha! Since we are talking about football, how do you rate Jamaica's chances of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup?
TS: I think that Jamaica must have a great chance, but like a good executive they need to get the job done at the office, that is a huge advantage for them. I actually think the team that is going to struggle this time round is the USA.
AL: Best analysis I've heard from you in a while, let's see if you can keep surprising me. What are your views on each of the top four league in the world; EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A?
TS: I think each year they are getting more boring and predictable. Big Money is ruining the game of football as we know it.
AL: Now, I know you will try to give me some sort of politically correct answer, but there must be a major club that you support or at least, really like.
TS: I don't support any major clubs but I do support whatever club is carrying my hard earned money every weekend. That is like asking a gambler if there is a horse that he really likes; the answer is 'Yes', the one that just won for me (laughs).
But yes, I support three clubs. I support Dundalk in the league of Ireland; I support St Brides, my local Gaelic Team; and I support Louth, my County Gaelic Team, which I dream someday are going to win an All-Ireland again, and I will be the happiest man in the world.
AL: OK, if you say so. I can't have you hear without getting your public views on my beloved Juventus - 'La Vecchia Signora del calcio Italiano'.
TS: They are OK for an Italian Team.
AL: Champions League quarter-finals, being one of the most impressive in the tournament; nine points ahead in Serie A coming off an unbeaten season is more than 'OK' sir - Hiss teeth.
AL: Anyway, It sure doesn't look that way, but let me ask for asking sake. Did you participate competitively in any sport back in the day?
TS: OK 'smart aleck'. For your information, I was a star Gaelic football player, which you may or may not know is one of the toughest games in the World, I actually played at the top level for four decades in Ireland and in the US, if you can find any of my opponents alive you can ask about me!
AL: (laughs) OK boss. Besides football, what other sport do you enjoy?
TS: I enjoy every sport, especially NFL, NBA, NHL, college basketball and football; some cricket, Aussie rules, but most of all I love the sport of Kings - horse racing.
AL: What would you say were your most memorable moments in broadcasting?
TS: There have been so many but I will take it down to two just so that you don't have to take four or five pages. Champions League final's greatest two minutes win in history; Man United win over Bayern Munich and the greatest comeback ever, Liverpool over AC Milan in Turkey.
AL: If there was an old match that you wish you could have commentated on, which match would it be?
TS: Ireland beating Germany in the European Championships in Germany.
AL: You cover a lot of La Liga games. Now, the debate is fading but what is your view on who is the best player in the world; Messi or CR7?
TS: I just wish I could pick a team each weekend that had the two of them in it. Why are people so greedy that they have to pick one player, these two men entertain millions each weekend with their brilliant and I mean brilliant talent.
AL: Who is going to win the Champions League this season?
TS: At the beginning of the season I said Real Madrid, but as I told you about what I say on television I don't ever change, so I am still saying Real Madrid.
AL: What is your favourite memory of your visit to Jamaica?
TS: The beauty of the place that I was in, The Half Moon hotel that I stayed in and the beauty of the people that I met, such friendly people with such an unbelievable sense of humour, I am coming back!
Sports Quote of the Day
"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."
- Muhammad Ali