I was reading the interview Kev had with Dave Langan.
He’s a name I remember from my very first days supporting Blues, thirty odd years ago. Colin Todd, Archie Gemmill, Mark Dennis, Tony Coton. I missed the Francis era by a whisker, so they were the heroes I had to look up to. Perhaps it was the fact he was Irish, like my dad, but Dave Langan was my first ‘favourite player’. It got me thinking. Who are the kids of today’s favourite players?
I teach kids, or children, if you don’t like the ‘baby goat label’. The ones I teach who don’t support Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Barcelona, or Manchester City (!) support a local team. I’ve taught a couple of Wycombe (!) fans, a Baggies fan or two, and the rest have been Aston Villa or Birmingham City fans. Can’t knock supporters of a local team. Wycombe is simply down to family ties, the rest is just glory hunters, plain and simple. But they’re kids, so we’ll leave them to their grass munching. The point I was trying to make before I digressed, is that the Blues fans I taught seem to look at a variety of factors when choosing their ‘favourite’ player.
Joe Hart was a huge favourite, as was Ben Foster. Is it the gloves? England international more likely! Jack Butland has pulled on the new ‘fans’ fave mantle’. Certainly one of their favourites anyway! Zigic was a BIG favourite. Scoring four goals in one match was a great reason, just a shame most children only go to home matches, so only a few away travellers will have seen his single handed Leeds demolition job! His height alone will gain him a few points in the unofficial BCFC Top Trumps game, his misses against Ipswich on Saturday may lose him a few, mind you. Marlon King – a bad boy come good – will certainly raise a few eyebrows amongst parents, but children seem to love the image, and the ‘glamour’ his crime record seems to give off. “He’s hard, he is,” would tend to be the mentality. I think – without the criminal record – that line of thinking certainly would have helped the likes of Langan and Dennis in the boyhood hero stakes. I wonder how many fans had ‘Pennant’ on their backs for similar reasons?
Keith Fahey was a bit of a whipping boy, but – like Langan – being an Irish international will certainly help the third generation British-Irish boys (and girls!) to keep him close to their hearts…even while the bloke behind gives him hell for not scoring from the halfway line (shrugs and sighs).
Stephen Carr himself would pick up the same recognition points, but being Captain would have earned him many more. And lifting the Carling Cup! What schoolboy *or girl, blimey, equality and the BCFC Ladies seem to have stifled my (virtual) pen somewhat* hasn’t dreamed of lifting silverware for their own club? What child I ever teach will ever even play for the ‘gloryhunting’ teams, let alone their local team? Yet dream we all do. My son was there to witness the dream, with me, at Wembley. Perhaps he’ll be queuing up in the George when he’s my age, to get a copy of Carr’s book, “Out of Retirement”?
Savage had the hair, and the headbutt from Dublin. Perhaps Brian Clough called Dave Langan that. “The headbutt from Dublin” or just “The Irishman”. See the book! Grown women I’ve spoken to (well, my sister anyway!) seem to suggest that it’s all about the legs for them. Seen one, you’ve seen them all in my opinion, but then, I didn’t marry my Brother in Law. Nice bloke, wouldn’t want those legs in my bed though, sorry Dave.
Beausejour had the exotic name, Murphy is called the Smurf, which may pick up a few vintage votes from my generation and a few from the younger generation of CGI loving filmgoers. Curtis Davies may well pick up a few votes from kids who like to wind their Villa or WBA mates up about how he’s ten times the player for us.
Terrace songs help, I’ve heard plenty of children talking about their preference for metric over imperial measurements (the great Litres vs Pints debate). Loanees can come with their own sense of ‘mystique’. I remember my lad being excited to see Pandiani play. Now we have Ravel, the Man U trainee, which brings a certain amount of ‘prestige’ if you ignore the fact West Ham didn’t want him. Ahem. Chris Burke was my Son’s favourite player last year. This gets to the crux of things I guess. The ability to score a few goals, provide a few assists, all put notches on the old goalpost. This season, he’s been left out of the squad altogether, or benched for 60 minutes at a time.
Nathan Redmond added an attainability to the proceedings. Children can actually imagine THEY could do it, too. Local lad come good and all that. Sadly, he’s flattered to deceive somewhat this season, so far.
The other problem is, the likes of Colin Doyle and Keith Fahey are a rarity at the Blues, players who have actually stayed long enough for fans to REMEMBER!
In conclusion, then, you’d have to say it’s impossible to predict just WHO someone’s best player is, or WHY. Dave Langan was my favourite player, closely followed by Archie Gemmill, who scored the first Blues goal I ever saw. Things may well have been different if it’d been Pat van den Hauwe. I’d have had to move to Belgium!!
When are we going to see Papa Boupa Diop, who kids will surely love for having such an amazing name….?
Keep Right On