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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 12:03 GMT
Comedy sketch riles Linfield boss
Derek (right) with his wife
The character of Derek always wears a Linfield shirt
Linfield manager David Jeffrey says a cantankerous character on BBC Northern Ireland's comedy sketch show Dry Your Eyes is harmful to his club's image.

The foul-mouthed Linfield shirt wearing Derek is angered at various events which threaten to spoil his holidays.

Mr Jeffrey said it "brings up the old stereotypical image of what a Linfield supporter used to be like".

But Jackie Hamilton of BBC NI's Comedy Unit insisted Derek could have been wearing any football shirt.

"Derek is a working-class Belfast man who works very hard for his living - the highlight of his year is when he tries to get a couple of weeks away on holiday, but in this comedy, something always gets in the way of that," he said.

"He has a very direct and no-nonsense way of dealing with these issues - a lot of folk identify with that.

Linfield manager David Jeffrey
David Jeffrey saw the show for the first time last Friday
"He's one of the most popular characters in the series."

Mr Jeffrey said he was annoyed that the programme makers had chosen a Linfield jersey for the character.

"What has annoyed me is not his extreme nature - if that's all it was, then fine - but the fact that he's wearing a Linfield jersey, to me, brings up the old stereotypical image of what a Linfield supporter used to be like," he said.

"There may be loads of people who aren't football followers, who see this character and his Linfield top, and assume that's how these people carry on.

"We have worked so hard in terms of the identity of the club, we have the most mixed team there is north and south of the border, and we do a phenomenal amount of cross-community work."

However, Mr Hamilton said he could have been wearing any soccer top, and it was just part of the overall picture.

Derek
Mr Hamilton said the character has a lot of admirable qualities
"In the whole series, there's no mention of soccer or Linfield, there's no sectarian issues or anything like that," he said.

He said the character has "a lot of admirable qualities" and he did not think his behaviour was extreme.

The series is midway through a repeat run on BBC Northern Ireland, but Mr Jeffrey said he only saw the show for the first time on Friday evening.

"I'm a great fan of the Hole in the Wall Gang - Give My Head Peace is one of my favourite programmes - and I enjoy comedy as much as anyone else," he said.


SEE ALSO
Club launches anti-sectarian move
05 Aug 06 |  Northern Ireland

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