Tag Archive | football

Robbie Savage-from Zero to Hero

All my footie friends knows that when he was a player I detested Robbie Savage. I won’t go into the reasons as it’s all history now, but suffice to say I used to tell everyone that if I won the lottery, I’d buy Robbie Savage and confine him to the bench and make sure he’d never play again.

In fact, such were the heated debates at work that some bright spark managed to change the photograph on my national staff profile to one of Savage much to their hilarity and my despair!

I took an instant dislike to him on Radio 5-Live 606 and it made my day when he was hit in the face by a ball whilst reporting near the touch-line at Villa Park. I even applauded Dion Dublin off the Park for head-butting him in a particularly bad-tempered match against Birmingham City.

But things started to change when he stopped playing. I watched him bring his dad onto the pitch at his last game and cried my eyes out. His exploits on Strictly Come Dancing were heroic and hilarious and typically OTT and I now listen to 606 laughing my head off. Whatever you think about Robbie, he’s good entertainment and actually speaks a lot of sense. Tonight however was brilliant. He told a story about watching his young son play in a football match this weekend and it went like this;

Robbie: ” I was watching my son play football today and his team were winning 3-0.  (Proudly) My son had just scored a goal. Just then his mum rang and asked how he was getting on. I told her that the team was winning and he’d scored a goal”

Mum: “Ask him what he wants for dinner” 

Down to earth with a bump.

Mrs Savage sounds my kind of woman!

Under 16’s football

O my goodness. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I was taking an excited, skinny 6-year-old William to his first football experience ” Mini kickers”. His new traditional black boots were a tiny size 6/7, his shin pads barely clung to his little legs and he couldn’t do his laces. On the field I spent a good hour laughing at the two groups of enthusiastic boys and girls chasing the ball around like a flock of seagulls tracking a fishing boat, none of them with the faintest clue about positioning, tactics and passing the ball to each other. When they all finally caught up with the ball it more resembled a rugby scrum than a football tackle with arms and legs flaying all over the place until the ball was kicked (accidentally) out of the ruck. I found it hilarious but at the same time I realised that I had expected far too much of William and his team mates. I had, very naïvely, expected them to be placed on the pitch by the coach, to stay in their positions, to understand the difference between person-to-person and zonal marking, to pass the ball to each other preferably down the channels, to throw the ball down the line (preferably to one of your own team) and finally, to play towards the opposition’s goal not your own! How wrong I was but after ten years of training, coaching, academies, victories, draws and defeats, cups trophies and medals, cuts, bruises and a serious knee injury I now have a strapping 16-year-old confident young man who loves his football and today is about to embark on his last season of youth football.

His boots-size 11-are now pink and black and embossed with his name. His spare pair is green and gold but nameless. (Thankfully he can do his laces) He tackles and passes, uses the channels intelligently and gets battered and bashed in the process. But he is still excited about the new season. He wants to fetch his new kit. He is determined to win and already has his sights on the opposition strike force even though he doesn’t know who they are yet!

It is also as exciting for me today as it was 10 years ago. The pre-match build up and drive to the match. Cadbury’s Caramel bars and Lucozade Sport. Hair gel and Lynx. All part of our football experience.

In keeping with the last 7 seasons I still have to make a season-long promise to Will NOT to run onto the pitch should he score a winning goal, hug him and tell everyone “that’s my boy” It’s hard but mums get so proud and whilst at 8 years old it was uncomfortable, at 16 it would be unforgivable! So, I have my rules too.

This season I will make sure that I enjoy it whilst I can. Next year he will be 17 and will probably want to drive himself to matches. That’s fine.

I’ll be watching, in disguise, from behind the hedge.

Unless the Under 18’s need a mascot of course………!

 

Want to buy an Iranian football team shirt in Iran? Forget it!

Think you can buy an Iranian National Team football shirt in Iran? Think again. Certainly not in Esfahan or surrounding areas anyway. Perhaps in Tehran? Who knows but every sports shop we went in almost laughed us out of their shop with derision for their team.

We gave up trying in the end as when we asked for an Iran shirt, the retailers were looking at us as if we had got two heads and with such a look of pity I couldn’t bear it any longer.

So, instead we settled on a yellow and black shirt for a local team Sepahan. Not great but at least it’s an Iranian team even though no one has ever heard of it back home!

What we could have bought instead were any number of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona and Brazil shirts with the player’s names on the back. Key rings, sweat bands, shorts and socks. World Cup footballs, Adidas shirts, Nike joggers anything except what we really wanted.

Never mind. Perhaps if their results pick up and the citizens of Iran support their home team instead of the highly merchandised and marketed popular European club teams  we might get a shirt next time.

Looking at their prospects however this appears unlikely so it’s off to E-Bay. Bet they’ve got one.