References to popular culture make the novel and Paddy’s voice more real to us.
Paddy’s favourite team is Manchester United, "My hot water bottle was red, Manchester United’s colour."
His hero is the Belfast born player George Best, who played for Manchester United.
It is common for Irish people to support Manchester United because of George Best, a famous footballer in his day.
Details like this - alongside topical news stories - set the novel in a context recognisable to the reader, despite its fictional location.