All adoring and often driven mad football fans know that not one season goes by without hearing the repetitive accusation, ‘You’re a one man team’. A description of that one footballer who out-plays his opponents and keeps his team mates firmly on their metatarsals. Truth is, every club on the planet had or has a player who is held up as a beacon and benchmark for future generations; so shouldn’t we thank this one man for drawing our attention to the clubs we now support?
Wanting to spend quality time with my dad, I watched my first football match with him; The North London Derby. The parental decision at my birth to be a Tottenham supporter like my dad (no one is perfect) wasn’t going to happen thanks to my first act of childhood rebellion; supporting the red and white strip of The Arsenal. One player in particular swung the deciding pendulum towards Highbury’s way and that was Alan Sunderland. A hatrick from him to beat our old adversaries and a surprisingly proud dad whose delight in having a daughter to watch games with far out weighed the disappointment of my chosen team.
One footballer, it turns out, was my first emotional connection with Arsenal and when I asked my dad why he supported our rivals he replied, “Jimmy Greaves”. I have asked many Cypriots of my dads generation who came to England back in the 50’s and 60’s the reason they chose to support certain football clubs. No one said because the club is great even though their histories prove without question that they are.
George Best and Bobby Moore are the names which cropped up more than once along with the Mediterranean hands up in the air gesture warning me not to argue the point. Understandable and completely plausible, these legends help thrust their domestic clubs into the international arena. So many more have followed in their footsteps not only as memorable players due to their skill, work ethic and sometimes rogue behaviour but because in the eyes of every passionate supporter they truly represent the soul of their football club.
So if one man can attract new support, positively influence and lift his team, assist and score the goals we need to win, it shouldn’t be a problem, should it? I can think of worse things in football to write about…