“May I have your attention please? This is Tim McCarthy with the Indiana State Police.” A thunderous cheer roars up from the student section, followed by a chorus of shushes raining down upon the crowd of more than 80,000. Through the open window of the Public Announcement (PA) box at Notre Dame Stadium, Sergeant Tim McCarthy hears it all. After 53 years of delivering a safety tip in between the third and fourth quarter at Notre Dame football games, McCarthy has seen it all too. “I always got a kick out of the crowd noise. In the old press box, I used to stand on what I’ll call the outside balcony with all the television cameras and so forth just to get the crowd noise,” McCarthy said. “I used to look and watch the students and that was always a lot of fun.” McCarthy said his superiors at the police department were the first ones to encourage him to deliver a safety message to fans during a home football game. “1960 … There were two games left in the season when I got the assignment, and so I gave the safety announcement very formal like a state trooper should, I guess,” he said. “I was very nervous about it. It went over pretty decently, but nobody listened to it with the crowd noise and all.” McCarthy said he decided after the 1960 season to try a different approach that might make the crowd listen to his safety message. “I told [my superiors] … I’m going to start using a quip at the end and see what happens, and the following season – that was in 1961 – in the very first game there was a discussion among the referees for something and the crowd was unusually quiet. “So I gave the thing. The message gave a pitch on drinking and driving. And I said, ‘Remember, the automobile replaced the horse, but the driver should stay on the wagon.’ And I got a lot of groans and boos and things like that.” The next game McCarthy said he tried to focus on driver attitude and said, “Remember, some drivers are like steel – no good when they lose their temper.” McCarthy said more boos followed this announcement, but over time the crowd began to look forward to his sayings. “About the end of the season I noticed a kind of quieting down because everybody’s waiting to see how corny the quip line was going to be. And I just started it off from there; got to be fairly popular at the games,” McCarthy said. McCarthy said he now gathers ideas and listens for plays on words during the offseason. As games resume, he organizes them into quips that vary from season to season, although some lines do get repeated. “Last season … there was an awful lot of construction around the South Bend area and we focused a little bit on that for a couple games,” McCarthy said. “Generally, I have one on the site in case of rainfall … I have one for snow too, but we haven’t had snowfall for a long, long, long time … This is my 54th year of doing it, so I have run into repeats from time to time.” McCarthy said he carefully prepares to deliver the quips because he fears making a mistake in front of a crowd of 80,000. “I do get nervous, I’m always nervous,” he said. “I have three-by-five cards and I just write the whole message I’m going to give on the three-by-five card. It’s everything, you know, I even write my name on it so I don’t mess up. You never know what’s going to happen.” The students not only support his puns but also maintain the energy of the stadium as a whole, McCarthy said. “They’re the ones that kind of keep the excitement of the game going, I think, students,” he said. “In my opinion they’re No. 1 every season. They really do a good job for Notre Dame in cheering the team.” McCarthy said he used to direct traffic with the police during home football weekends in addition to speaking during the games. He said he retired from the police department in 1979 and served two terms as Porter County sheriff. “[Now] I’m just kind of retired, and the Notre Dame thing is kind of a hobby,” McCarthy said. “I sure enjoyed my career with the state police, and it makes me feel a little bit a part of it again.” When asked how long he wants to continue delivering safety messages, McCarthy said he has plans for the long run. “I wish forever! Because I love it,” McCarthy said. “It’s a lot of fun, I’ll tell you.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at email@example.com
“What we do know is that he will play in one of the very best clubs in the world next season, whether that is Manchester United or not.” Van Gaal insists he has no option but to take a hard line stance with the forward, who has suffered from injury problems since his loan move from Monaco. “If I am not like that, maybe he has less motivation,” Van Gaal said. “I have to be like that. It is difficult for the outside world (to understand that).” Van Gaal was clearly irked by a question about how Falcao had responded to being omitted from the squad. “That is not for you, that is not for the media,” Van Gaal said at his weekly press conference. “That is for the player and his manager. I’m sorry.” When asked whether Falcao’s morale was okay, the Dutchman said bluntly: “I think so.” When quizzed on whether Falcao would feature against QPR on Saturday, Van Gaal said: “You have to wait and see, because when I say that a part of my line-up is known I make it easy for my opponent and I don’t want to make it easy.” Falcao’s chances of starting at Loftus Road were strengthened when Robin van Persie hobbled off in the second half of the loss to Saints with an ankle injury. Van Gaal refused to reveal how long Van Persie will be out for, but it seems highly unlikely he will play on Saturday. “I have read in the papers in the Netherlands that he is injured so we shall see,” Van Gaal said. Van Gaal was a little bit more forthcoming when questioned about the possibility of signing players in the January transfer window. United have been linked with moves for Kevin Strootman, Seamus Coleman and Nathaniel Clyne – among others – but according to Van Gaal, there is only a small possibility he will sign anyone this month. “I don’t think that we shall be very active [in the transfer market] as not many players of a certain level are available,” the former Bayern Munich coach said. “When we buy a player he has to be better than the players that are playing now and that is a difficult job.” Press Association United beat a host of top clubs to the loan signing of Falcao on deadline day, but despite his reported wage packet of around £280,000 a week he has scored just three goals in 13 appearances. To the bemusement of many fans, a fully-fit Falcao was left out of the match day squad for last week’s 1-0 defeat against Southampton, with Van Gaal preferring to put 19-year-old James Wilson on the bench instead. Louis van Gaal has told Radamel Falcao he still has to prove his worth at Manchester United even though the club have forked out a considerable amount of money for the striker. Van Gaal was unrepentant on the matter and insists the Colombian must prove he is up to the job if he is to get more game time and if United are to exercise their right to buy the striker for £43.5million. “He has to prove himself, that we have agreed. We have made this deal and everything is clear and it is not the end of the year so he has the chance for that,” the United boss said. “If a player costs £95million or £5,000 it’s not any difference for me. “You have to prove yourself. A player of £95million has to prove himself also.” Van Gaal explained after the defeat that he had room for just one striker on the bench against Saints and opted for Wilson because he was quicker than Falcao. Van Gaal’s move to leave the former Porto striker out of his squad cast fresh doubt on the player’s chances of sealing a permanent transfer to Old Trafford. Earlier this week the player’s agent Jorge Mendes said he had no idea whether his client would remain at the club beyond the end of the season “The truth is, right now we don’t know what will happen,” Mendes said.