THE appointment of an exciting young football boss has got the sporting world talking. Yes, yours truly has taken up soccer management.
I have been installed, after protracted contract negotiations, as coach of our Isaac’s mini-soccer team. I think of it as a calling. When the call came up to step forward and take charge, all the other dads around me took one step back.
“Are you sure you want to do it?” I was asked. “Of course,” was the answer. The answer came from my wife, but that’s enough to seal the deal at this level (my marriage, come to think of it was a similar experience).
So, job done, both myself and newly-signed Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas will begin our first foray into the English leagues this year, with each bringing their special brand of coaching to the fore.
Villas-Boas will have his work cut out moulding his Chelsea outfit into Premier League title challengers in much the same way as I have my work cut out trying to keep Whitley Coast Soccer under-eights from squirting each other with water from their drinks bottles as soon as my back’s turned.
The secret of successful management is playing to your strengths. Villas-Boas, by all accounts, is a brilliant man manager, a quality that is a must at the highest level.
My strength? Well I can spot a loose shoelace at 30 yards – it’s a massive part of mini-soccer management, believe me. I can have a loose shoelace spotted, tied and the young whippersnapper back into action in under 17 seconds (just 2.5secs outside the league record).
Just like me, Villas-Boas will have to answer the big footballing questions posed by his players. He gets: “Will you play Torres and Drogba together?”
I get: “I need a wee. Where can I go?”
The sight of our young boys relieving themselves against the wall at the side of the pub next to the playing fields swells my heart with pride. It makes me ponder their future in the game.
Maybe, just maybe, they’ll make it as Premier League players themselves. When, no doubt, they will be caught by the paparazzi doing exactly the same outside China Whites.
We can but dream.
l LOST another reader with my clumsy attempts at humour last week (one down, five to go).
I was advised to stop taking the Mickey out of people who appear in the paper, and stick to taking the Mickey out of myself and my family, it’s far less complicated.
For that reason I made a pledge to steer clear of other people in this column, only to find myself succumbing to temptation. Damn you, Norman Johnson.
Mr Johnson, from Grindon, appeared in the Echo to recall an accident he had 10 years ago. It was prompted after he read the harrowing story of a girl impaled on a fence.
“I’d forgotten about it until I read about Caitlyn,” he said.
So what was the accident that 45-year-old Norman had forgotten? A sprained ankle? Nasty bump on his forehead?
No. Wor Norman had only fallen off a ladder and landed on a 4ft metal spike that went through his chest and neck before bursting out through his jaw, missing most of his vital organs by millimetres.
No wonder he’d forgotten. I mean, it only took the fire service an hour to cut him free and take him to hospital … with the metal spike STILL sticking out of him!
Crikey! I haven’t forgotten about getting hit on the head with a cricket ball 20 years ago. But then I am from South Shields. They’re clearly made of tougher stuff in Sunderland.
And Norman even had time to joke: “I’m still eating kebabs for fun!”
SO that’s it, no more stories about the things people say in the Echo. Except there was this one, the incredible story in the Echo this week of the two young girls who fell into the Wear only to be rescued by a man running past by chance.
Parishe Pattinson, 17, and her pal Jade Watson, 16, ended up in the drink after Parishe slipped on a railing and Jade jumped in after her. Thankfully they were rescued with no serious ill-effects, though the comments of mum Lisa caught my eye.
“They’re like Laurel and Hardy,” said Lisa, “but nothing like this has ever happened before.”
If they’re really like Laurel and Hardy, then surely accidents like this are happening all the time! I don’t know. Maybe she means that in the past they’ve had bowler hats stuck on their heads, paint brushes glued to their chins and had serious problems delivering pianos up large flights of stairs just like Laurel and Hardy, but this was the first time they’d accidentally fallen into a river.
At least this was one fine mess that had a happy ending.