A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about the pending visit to our shores of Eugenie Bouchard.
After she arrived in Auckland for the ASB Classic, she was seen at Ellerslie Races on Boxing Day, where she played celebrity fashion judge. On social media, she posted pictures of her trip to the beach, her helicopter ride and zip line exploits. On the court she won the doubles title with Sonya Kenin, so all in all, an enjoyable, successful couple of weeks. Karl Budge and those promoting Auckland tourism will be keen to have her back.
At the same time, a new Sheriff arrived in town; Wellington to be exact. Cillian Sheridan, ex-Celtic forward and with three Republic of Ireland caps to his name, clocked up plenty of Google searches upon the announcement of his signing for the Phoenix and has made an impressive impact off the bench in his appearances to date.
As well as providing more quality to Mark Rudan’s squad and immediate competition up front, Sheridan’s arrival in New Zealand has generated a different type of interest in the world of social media. Whereas there is an obvious marketing angle to much (most) of what Bouchard does, Sheridan is amassing a cult following here based on his sense of humour, his down to earth nature and his observations on life on the other side of the world. It’s fresh, unforced and puts a smile on your face.
As well as Instagram and Twitter accounts, before he signed for the Phoenix, Sheridan’s podcast offering ‘Mr Sherry’ had racked up 41 episodes; I’m not going to pretend I’ve listened to them all but I’m chipping away. On Thursday this week, he recorded Episode 42, or ‘Season 2, Episode 1’ where he talks naturally about things such as his recent journey to the A League, his struggles to identify various accents (including Irish ones), the battle to get the internet hooked up at his new home and his determination not to swear (spoiler – he fails). It’s 32 minutes long and if you listen in, I think you’ll be smiling for most of it.
In this age of the media trained/wary sports star, this fella shines. Even if his contract doesn’t get extended past the end of the season, I’m certain Phoenix fans will look back fondly at his time here both on and off the pitch and they will follow his future adventures closely. Let’s be honest; he won’t add to his International caps against the All Whites in Dublin this November, but less than a month after his arrival, it’s safe to say there will forever be a little bit of Co. Cavan fondly associated with the football fans of New Zealand.
Follow Aiden on Twitter