“I dreamt I played for Liverpool last week. I woke up and realised I’m 62 now.”

There was a moment in this week’s Experience podcast with Roddy Collins when he remembered the sounds that came from the extension that his father built at their house in Cabra. 

Nine of them lived in the house and, as other people built extensions, Roddy Collins’s father built a boxing gym.

Collins has worked with the best in Paul Howard to write his book, The Rodfather. He is also so effortlessly evocative in his own recall of those days that it is mesmeric.

About nine minutes into the podcast, he recalls the sounds he heard from the kitchen of his father and his uncles training in the gym. The sound of the speed ball and the skipping rope and as he says it you are transported to another place and he is too.

Roddy Collins. Photo: Bryan Meade

It is no wonder then that Roddy Collins has always been able to persuade people, including himself, to follow his dreams, no matter how implausible they were.

The Rodfather is a glorious portrait of a life but also of Dublin and of the small, curious and, occasionally, bitter world of Irish football.

Collins stood up to John Delaney’s FAI and paid the price but there is little bitterness in a man whose ability to imagine it all over again seems to be endless.

He told his wife Caoline they’d won the lottery when they hadn’t, a practical joke that got out of hand when she understandably called all her family and friends over for a celebration. Roddy rationalises it today by saying she thought they won €3 million and in the couple of hours before she found out the truth, she’d given away €4 million so it might have been just as well they didn’t.

Roddy Collins and Dion Fanning. Photo: Bryan Meade

Collins certainly would have. As well as his life as a footballer and manager, he had a successful contracting business until he realised his generosity in employing friends was not a practical business approach. One man, he says, owed him too much money so he couldn’t sack him.

The book is a story of friendship too and it is impossible not to warm to Collins (and not hard to fall out with him too as many would attest to).

When the interview was over, I would have been up for anything he’d suggested. The stories and the recollections are so beguiling that you’d believe anything he told you. So when his unconscious came to him in the night, it’s no surprise it persuaded him that he could still play for Liverpool.