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Thread: Foot.ie Q&A Session - Stephen O'Brien - Answers

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    Post Foot.ie Q&A Session - Stephen O'Brien - Answers

    1. Name you all-time eircom League X1? (In your playing career)

    My team would be:

    David Forde/Steve Williams (Cant choose)

    Owen Heary | Pat Scully | Barry Ferguson | Danny Murphy
    Kevin Doyle | Kevin Hunt | Joe Gamble | Mark Rutherford
    Jason Byrne | George O’Callaghan
    Subs:

    Liam Coyle
    Pat Morley
    Glen Crowe
    John O’Flynn
    Stewie Byrne

    2. Can you settle the argument about where your nick-name originated from?

    When I first arrived at Longford I had a bit of a plain accent from living in UK, Vinny Perth & Paul Mc Nally thought I sounded like John Barnes so they called me “Digger” as in Digger Barnes from the series called Dallas on TV. Ask your ma’s about Dallas it was on a long time ago.

    3. Who have been your favourite opposition fans for craic and why?

    Cork City: Great Banter both in the Cross and in Longford, I do the old Hokey Cokey dance for them throughout the match.
    Drogheda: Just get on well always good banter.
    Pats: All my family from Inchicore so I know a lot of the fans.

    4. Which EL ground has been your favourite to play in?

    Couldn’t pick one, Turners Cross, United Park, Richmond Park & Dalymount would be best.

    5. Who's been your biggest influence on your career?

    Damien Richardson and Stephen Kenny.
    I was with Damien in Gillingham and then brought me to Shels.
    Stephen convinced me to join Longford and was a very good bloke to deal with.

    6. Are you small or far away? Honestly, how tall are you?

    5ft 7 1/2. I have to say I pŪss myself sometimes when I see matches on Telly.

    7. What do you think about everyone slagging you off about your height? Hi ho hi ho

    No problem, it’s enjoyable I have learned to take it in the right spirit.

    8. During your career have you seen a noticeable improvement in the standard of play in Ireland?

    I arrived back in 1996 to join Shels the Pitches and Facilities have improved along with the players. Players are so much more dedicated and fitter now.

    9. How long will it take for an Irish side to get into the group stages of the Champions League?

    We have made great strides in the last couple of years but I think your talking at least another 3-4 Years and maybe no even then. I think it all depends on a Full Time League.
    We should think about probably incorporating the North so we could get crowds of 10-12,000 for league games.
    Imagine the atmosphere being like it was at the recent Cork V Derry game every week and revenue it would generate, it would take the league onto another level.

    10. Who has been the best opposition striker you have faced?

    Jason Byrne, Liam Coyle, John O’Flynn and Glen Crowe.

    11. Seriously can you touch the crossbar?

    Have to really stretch before I try.

    12. In your playing career, who is the greatest player you played with or against?

    When in UK played against several good players, Shearer would be the one.

    13. Do you think switching to summer soccer has improved the standard of Irish football?

    Without doubt the answer has to be yes.
    The only people who would even think of returning to Winter Football are People with their own self interest at heart, take the Drogs/Cork Cup Final as an example. Enough Said.
    The reason why summer football works is purely the Weather.
    Training facilities are great because floodlights are not required and the standard of Training Pitches and Grounds are super. The players also revel performing in good weather.

    14. Given the perilous state of club finances throughout Ireland, do you believe that it is hypocritical of the PFAI to argue against the introduction of the salary cap, as proposed by the Genesis Report?

    I think the PFAI have to stand by their Members, so no. I do think the clubs need to look at what they can afford to pay out in wages.
    Players will always try and get the best deal they can but how can clubs consistently get into debt to chase a dream that most of the time has a minimal chance of succeeding.

    15. What do you think of the coaching standards and practices in our league? (at all levels)

    Thankfully for the last number of years I have been fortunate enough to have aGoalkeeping Coach, so for me personally I have been well taken care of.
    Generally I think once the FAI implement the Technical Development Plan things should improve.

    From the coaches I have worked with in this country Damien Richardson and Stephen Kenny would stand out as very progressive in their thinking which has obviously shown with there recent success.

    16. What needs to be done to improve the standards, by that i mean what do you think Irish players are missing, or do they fall down in just one area i.e. technical, fitness, management?

    No matter what I say here wont change the fact that Ireland produces players that are in the main technically sub-standard to most other countries in Europe.

    Why? Because it is all about winning, we play a different style of football which is all about harrying the opposition and getting the ball forward as quickly as possible.

    Schoolboy clubs concentrate on getting the biggest players to play at underage so teams can be bulldozed with strength.
    The Eircom League is improving due to the Summer Football, Pitches and Full Time training but by the time the lads get to play in our league a lot of bad habits have already formed.

    Again the Technical Development Plan is hopefully the answer and will instil good habits into our nation’s players from an early age.
    I am not just paying the Technical plan lip service I have done a couple of FAI courses recently and what they are teaching does make sense. At least there is a plan in place to improve our kids.

    17. Have you given any thought about coaching, have you any experience in it, are there certain aspects/areas that you would like to implement if you were to take up coaching.

    Yeah I attended an FAI Introductory goalkeeping course a few weeks ago.
    I have coached local teams and in my son’s school. It is really enjoyable.
    One thing that I would like to see implemented is to attempt to make it mandatory for Professional Eircom League Players to do 2 hours coaching per week in schools.

    It would raise the profile of the league immediately and I believe get more interest in soccer. In my son’s school the GAA send in a coach each week, however, St. Pats are only around the corner and they dont, that’s the difference.

    18. What do you think of the training you got from schoolboys up to U21?

    Because I was involved in the International Set Up training was always very good, but I seen the other side of the coin where someone’s dad was working his arse off to be at training on time after working all day so he could take the U14’s of such a team on Tuesday and Thursday’s and then get stick from the parents when little Johnny was not playing on Sunday.

    Again I would go back to a previous answer, I recently undertook a Introductory Goalkeeping Course with the FAI which was really well laid out.
    I also met coaches on the course from St. Kevins Boys and the work they are doing is light years ahead of what we done when we were younger, so things are looking up.

    19. What do you think of foot.ie and do you not think your name on there (Dirk) is a bit silly?

    Foot.ie is always fun to have a look at, there is great banter between fans and it is always good to know what they think.
    Lets be honest it’s not as if were superstars on £30K a week, we are just normal blokes who just happen to be half decent footballers at this level.
    Dirk is another nickname from Vinny Perth.

    20. Can you see yourself managing in the future?

    I honestly think that managing an Eircom League should be a Full Time job and with my work commitments I cant see it. I would like to stay involved in some capacity maybe as a goalkeeping coach.
    Last edited by A face; 07/12/2005 at 11:31 PM.
    The SFAI are the governing body for grassroots football in Ireland, not the FAI. Its success or the lack of is all down to them.

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    21. Does my bum look big in this???

    When your 5ft 71/2 your bum looks big in everything, especially when your carrying a bit of Timber.

    22. Why did Longford overreact and try to fence Rovers in??? As in putting fences up around the away supporters when Shamrock Rovers played there! And what was your personal view on this??? Be honest now!

    The fences were actually there from the time we played Linfield and Glentoran in the Setanta Cup.
    A small minority of Rovers Fans have previously caused trouble down in Longford so the club made a stance.
    I donít agree fencing fans with good stewarding most things can be sorted out.

    23. Do you think the licence scheme has worked, or have deficiencies in clubs' applications merely been glossed over?

    I think it is very useful as a guideline how to run your club. I think a lot of what the licence is all about goes unknown by the fans.
    The best thing is that all clubs have to be Tax compliant which is a major benefit to players.
    Of course clubs can fudge things just to get a licence, however, they will be caught out if something goes amiss and the back up paperwork is not there.

    24. Internationally, who would be your top rated keepers?

    Current Buffon. All time Peter the Great.

    25. What is your opinion on the genesis proposal for the EL?

    Have only browsed over it so I canít comment on it too much.
    At least it is a starting point for the proposed development of the league.
    The FAI need to take control they can push the Genesis through.
    What is very disturbing is people are still talking about a 22 team league. The quantity of quality players is not here to have such a big league, the product is the most important thing if we are going to continually progress.

    26. Youíre a true character in this league!! Do you feel we need more guys like you, up for a laugh!?

    Of course I do, however, it is easier for fans to interact with Goalkeepers.
    A lot of fans will abuse you to start off with but 99% of it is only crack. If you take it in the right way and give it back there is no harm in it.
    Itís harder for outfield players to Interact with fans during a game, but why not play with a smile on your face, after all were well paid and playing Professional football what could be better.

    27. I'm a Bray fan and once shouted at you in the Carlisle to go up for a corner and use your height! You responded by waving back and smiling! But have you ever considered going up to help the strikers out in the dying minutes of a game?

    All joking aside I was playing Non-League in the UK after I was released from Gillingham and I scored a header in second last game of the season in 95th minute to get us a draw, it was comical.

    28. Can you remember the best goal scored against you and by whom!?

    There have been quite a few. This season the best was Eamonn Zayed curling effort out in Bray was very good.

    29. In your football career, what were the best and worst moments you've encountered?

    Good Points:
    Promotion with Longford up to Premier Division, playing in Uefa Cup in Bulgaria, 1st FAI Cup in 2001 getting beaten by Bohs and winning 2 FAI Cups especially being captain for the last one in 2004.
    Bad Points:
    Losing 7-1 away to Finn Harps in FAI Cup when Longford were in first division.
    Losing 5-0 away to Finn Harps this season.
    Losing away to Carmarthen 5-1.

    30. Who is the most underrated player you have played with or against in your Eircom League Career??

    John Walsh Bray Goalkeeper for years he was very good.
    Shane Barrett currently playing with Longford this fella has everything he just needs to be played up front, he is awesome.

    31. What was the best goal that you have conceded?

    In the Eircom League Dave Morrison scored a cracker against us down in Flancare from 35 Yards.

    32. Have you made any particular goalkeeping blunder that you are most embarrassed at? And likewise, is there a particular save that you are most proud of?

    Blunders are part of a Goalkeepers life particularly the back passes. I have made quite a few throughout my career. This season I let a header back from Barry Ferguson slip through my hands up in Finn Harps to go down to 3-0. I also got the ball taken off me in Carmarthen to let the last goal in.
    These things happen but you have to try take the good with the bad.
    My Best save for Longford was in Play Offs up in Harps in 2002, we had just equalised and I saved a shot from John Speak, it did not look much but it was very important to the club.

    33. What do you think the best way forward is for the league?

    Ideally it is to have a National Irish Senior League set up as a twelve or fourteen team super league incorporating the Northern teams.
    Get government incentives to have all the twelve teams full time. Live television and major prize money. You would guarentee good crowds. Imagine Linfield v Bohs in Dalymount, Rovers v Glentoran in Tallaght.
    Also I think Bohs/Shels and Rovers/Pats should ground share in Dalymount and Tallaght.
    Imagine Shels selling Tolka and building another Jodi type Stand on the far side of Dalymount.
    Imagine Pats selling Inchicore and finishing the Tallaght stadium.
    It makes perfect sense as all these four clubs could have there offices at the stadium and it would leave money over to buy training grounds on the outskirts of Dublin for a knock down price off the government. With these training grounds they can then install a Centre of Excellence for underage teams.

    34. What are you for: part-time or full-time football? Winter or summer soccer?

    Full-Time Football.
    Some teams can still employ Part-Timers who can train 3 mornings a week.
    Summer Soccer.

    35. Also, how did you feel when Longford got Camaerthan in the UEFA cup?

    The worst I have ever felt in football. We were shocking on the day and let 4 goals in during the second half. We were very unprofessional as players and cannot have any excuses.
    The trip itself was awful and badly laid out but again the players and management have to take the blame. Itís strange because in all the previous big games we have played we were very well prepared but this time around we seemed to take it for granted that it was only a formality.

    36. Do you feel LTFC under estimated their opponents from Wales?

    Yes.

    37. Who should be the next Ireland manager in your opinion?

    Martin OíNeill.

    38. Can you settle an argument between a few mates? I reckon you were sent off against Derry at the Brandywell when you were caught out 'playing left back' and halved Gary Beckett. My mates say that wasn't you. Who is right? If it was you what was going through your head and how many times were you sent off in your career?

    I actually halved Michael Holt, I tried to tackle him with my left foot and nailed him typical goal keepers tackle.
    Also got sent off against Pats last year for a similar thing.
    Due to the way I sweep up behind the defence I am libel to get caught out occasionally.

    39. Has anyone ever spent an entire match trying to chip the ball over you?

    Strangely enough no.

    40. Where do you rate the eircom league in comparison with the eng shŪt game and would you consider a move to a lower division over there i.e. league 1/2

    I think Cork & Shels would be in the lower half of the Championship. The remainder of teams in Eircom League at the minute probably have 3-4 players that would do well in the UK.
    The SFAI are the governing body for grassroots football in Ireland, not the FAI. Its success or the lack of is all down to them.

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    41. Stephen how did you feel before going into the 1st leg against Camaerthan Town and how did you feel after the 2nd leg??

    We were so comfortable in the first leg it was embarrassing, so it was a sense of humiliation after the second leg.
    I think Damien Richardson got it right earlier this month when he asked for help from the FAI with the European games next year, who knows maybe if Longford had someone to advise us ahead of Carmarthen we might have not been so cocky and fallen flat on our faces.

    42. With which supporters did you have the best banter? Who were the funniest? Who were the cruellest?

    Cork & Drogs have great banter. Some Rovers fans can be a bit nasty but you take the good with the bad.

    43.Do you think the Oompa Loompa's in the recent Willy Wonka film were better than the original?

    I actually got a shout from Johnny Depp to do a screen test but I was too fat.

    44. Besides winning trophies what other memories will stick with you? Maybe little things like something a kid said to you when standing behind your goals or advice you got from a veteran keeper when you were younger or an incident with a particular striker.

    Doing the Hokey Cokey in front of the Shed last Season and keeping a clean sheet in the process, my Goalkeeping coach Gary Matthews gave me a bollocking after the game saying I was not concentrating, you got to have a laugh.

    Also I remember during FAI Cup Semi-Final down in Cork one of our supporters got kitted out slipped onto the pitch unnoticed and lined up with us to get on the Television, just like that Man Utd fan did a few weeks previously.

    45. You seem to be able to have a good laugh on the pitch and still do your job very professionally, is it the same in the dressing room/training/etc- you know pranks played etc..... or is that stuff best left untold?

    I have spoken to lots of players who give up football and the one thing they miss is the banter in the dressing room.
    You would have to be there to experience it suffice to say the slagging is immense.

    46. Are you sitting on a telephone directory in order to see the computer?

    I have the chair set to its highest setting.

    47. Have you ever taken height pills?

    No but I hung out of the banisters and got me brothers to pull my legs.

    48. Do you go momentarily blind when you pull up your socks?

    Is that before or after I take my stomach out of the way.

    49. Any plans for what you're going to be doing after hanging up your boots?

    Would like to set up a Goalkeeping academy after I finish to help young goalkeepers progress.

    50. You saved Tom Mohans penalty in the penalty shoot-out in the second leg of the 2001-2 Relegation Play-off that won Longford the game and ensured Harps had to another long season in Division One, when Tom joined you, did he mention it to you?!

    Tom called me before he joined Longford to ask about the set up, as I said to Tom I did not get anywhere near the previous 5 it was just luck.

    51. Any electric atmosphere's you have experienced in your career, and did any ever make you a little nervous?

    Drogs for last years Semi Final of FAI Cup was great because there was a really big crowd and the pitch is so tight to the stands.
    Donít really get nervous anymore Football after you play it so long becomes sort of like a job each game is just another day at the office.
    Maybe it is because I have been in Longford so long. It might change next year when I am at a different club and have to prove myself all over again.

    52. Do you think the referee should stop the game if a second ball is on the pitch?

    Of course if he sees it, however, some teams get all the luck.

    53. Summer football or winter football?

    See answer 13.

    54. Do you want the job of Bohs mascot next season (who knows the way Matt Greg is playing you might even get a game)

    Finger on the pulse I see not a bad place to try and win a league alright. I am about the right height for a mascot alright.

    55. Whatís the weather like down there

    Suprisingly mild.

    56. Out of all the sub goalkeepers at Longford down through the years since you've been between the posts, which one did you feel threatened your number one shirt the most? If any?

    I have been very lucky because I seemed to perform well each season down in Longford. Mick Dempsey was the best that has been down there with me. People donít realise how good Mick is until you train with him. Hopefully he will be Longford Goalkeeper next year.

    57. What are your plans for next year*cough* Kilkenny City *cough*?

    Strangely I have always liked red and black and Dublin is not a bad place to play on a Friday Night.

    58. What do you think of the PFAI, are they under-resourced, are they professional and foward thinking, they you think they accomplish alot on the players behalf, what would you like to see happening with then in the future, short and long term.

    There are well resourced with Sharon and Fran being full time.
    Very professional but there hands are tied especially with the infighting within the League, ideally once the FAI take over running the league I think PFAI will become a better body due to that fact that they will deal with people who have the league and not there club in mind.
    Short Term Sharon and Fran must remain in place.
    Long-Term PFAI should be involved in every contract signed by young players so that they can advise at the right time instead of rowing at a later date.

    59. What do you think should happen as regards a youth policy in this country ? What is your opinion on the current process/system of youth players being snapped up by English clubs, given the success rate of players integrating and excelling in the English leagues at that age? What do you think is the best way to implement a new blanket youth policy for football at all levels of the game? How should it be tackled ?

    Set up National Irish League as in Answer 33.
    Make it mandatory for clubs to have U 16, U18 & U21 Teams in the same 12 Team Super League.
    Ensure that each Club have an Academy where the U12ís to U18ís can go to school during the day and train after school every afternoon.
    Get FAI along with UEFA to ban kids signing for English Clubs until they are 18.
    The SFAI are the governing body for grassroots football in Ireland, not the FAI. Its success or the lack of is all down to them.

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    First Team Drumcondra Red's Avatar
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    Good stuff!!! Going to Bohs, eh???
    Sitting pretty!!!

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    Apprentice Rochey's Avatar
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    Fair play stephen good man, very interesting read

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    Coach tiktok's Avatar
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    Excellent Read. Thanks to Stephen and A Face
    Cork City: Making 'Dream Team' seem realistic since 2007.

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    For a man that played for Longford he's kept his sense of humour. Fair play.
    I'd rather die laughing than trying!

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    Godless Commie Scum
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    Interesting, particularly with regard to the pfai (disagree to some extent, better for the members that it's viable league, so if that means a wage cap that's gotta be good. Needs a different thread though).

    btw It was the semi in Waterford that Sorbo lined out with the team.
    If you attack me with stupidity, I'll be forced to defend myself with sarcasm.

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Drumcondra Red
    Good stuff!!! Going to Bohs, eh???
    Yeah Good stuff and I was Only Taking the proverbial
    good signing that

    Oompa lumpa Dumpity Doo Our Little keeper is better than you

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    Capped Player A face's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Block G Raptor
    Oompa lumpa Dumpity Doo Our Little keeper is better than you

    Oompa lumpa, Dumpity Dee, Our Little keeper is better than thee !!

    Sounds better !!
    The SFAI are the governing body for grassroots football in Ireland, not the FAI. Its success or the lack of is all down to them.

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    Seasoned Pro Block G Raptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A face
    Oompa lumpa, Dumpity Dee, Our Little keeper is better than thee !!

    Sounds better !!

    Perfect ! coming soon to a Block G/f Near you

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    Formerly: wild rover
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    excellent....really funny too...

    48. Do you go momentarily blind when you pull up your socks?

    Is that before or after I take my stomach out of the way.



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    First Team Drumcondra Red's Avatar
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    I wanted to know if my bum looked big, not his!!!
    Sitting pretty!!!

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    Capped Player A face's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumcondra Red
    I wanted to know if my bum looked big, not his!!!
    Drum .... its HUGE, you'll have to watch the mince pies over Christmas !!
    The SFAI are the governing body for grassroots football in Ireland, not the FAI. Its success or the lack of is all down to them.

  15. #15
    First Team Drumcondra Red's Avatar
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    I dunno now, I'm fairly streamlined!!!
    Sitting pretty!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumcondra Red
    I dunno now, I'm fairly streamlined!!!
    Yer a long streak of ..... yeh are

  17. #17
    First Team Drumcondra Red's Avatar
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    Well I bet you and Digger get on well block G, both short arsťs!!!
    Sitting pretty!!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumcondra Red
    Well I bet you and Digger get on well block G, both short arsťs!!!
    I'm an Inch Taller than Him and I had to give up Goalkeeping after our school won the u16 leinster schools championship because I was too small
    I want Justice......
    p.s. what a team we where Glen Crowe and Richie Partridge
    we were unbeatable, I think I made a save at some stage that season !!

    17. Have you given any thought about coaching, have you any experience in it, are there certain aspects/areas that you would like to implement if you were to take up coaching.

    Yeah I attended an FAI Introductory goalkeeping course a few weeks ago.
    I have coached local teams and in my sonís school. It is really enjoyable.
    One thing that I would like to see implemented is to attempt to make it mandatory for Professional Eircom League Players to do 2 hours coaching per week in schools.



    It would raise the profile of the league immediately and I believe get more interest in soccer. In my sonís school the GAA send in a coach each week, however, St. Pats are only around the corner and they dont, thatís the difference..
    what a fantastic Idea !
    Last edited by dahamsta; 10/12/2005 at 6:40 PM.

  19. #19
    Banned Roverstillidie's Avatar
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    great read, fair play.

    and if you think the rovers fans are nasty, wait till you are a bohs player!!!

    whenever we meet

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    nice one digger! very interesting interivew! agree with eveything you say on the carmarthen embarrssemnt!

    best of luck at bohs!
    from

    section os biggest fans!
    Neale Fenn red and black army

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