Football Blog - Thought of the Day

a writing by Paul Butters

It’s quite a long time since I wrote an entry here. Been writing too many poems! So time to catch up.

I wish I could magically travel back in time to my 21 year old body. If I did that, with what I know now, I’d be able to make a much better fist of playing football. Imagine me harmed with all that knowledge of Barcelona, 3 at the back, pressing up front, keeping our shape and so forth.

If I played a game now, but in my 21 body, I would be closing opponents down immediately. I would compete and show energy. Try to make some impact.

I have a decent touch actually. But I could never balance a football on my back or shoulders like I’ve seen players do. Maybe I just don’t have that awareness of my own body required to do such tricks. Yet I do have some intelligence and vision. (If anything I am literally long-sighted). It’s just that I was never competitive enough at football. I wrote myself off far too quickly.
Was always aware of my lack of height, strength and pace. And I was frustrated at nor being able to dribble like some.

Of course, as a kid what I should have done was play to my strengths: good positional sense, ball-stealing ability and passing. Oh and I could always hit a good shot and stay cool in the box. My table tennis gives me great reactions for fast-play.

My cousin Martin Haresign (on Mum’s side of the family), who became a semi-pro with Farsley Celtic (and managed them plus Harrogate Railway), did not do lots of fancy tricks with the ball. Instead, he had his players (as manager) running repeatedly up steep hills on Hough Side School playing fields in Leeds where we lived. I recall him as a hard, grafting midfield player with no frills. We used to play together for fun with a tennis ball on the path in front of Mum’s house (her cat in goal!). I should have copied his style more.

By the way, my other cousin, the late Jimmy Butters (Dad’s side) was said by
some to be capable of pro-football but didn’t get there for whatever reason. He did do all the tricks! A fantastic talent. But NB which of the two “got there”.

I’d better mention The World Cup! What I’m saying is that a Greece (in the past (Euros)), Mexico or South Korea can do better than more flamboyant teams. And such teams can even beat Lucky Germany (the Manchester United of International Football) ha ha. Yes, it’s a team game.

As for England, well in my estimation they have a fair chance of defeating Colombia, then Switzerland or Sweden. Sweden worry me: they knocked us out of the Euros in both 1992 and 1998! A player I rate very highly is the diminutive Shaqiri of Switzerland (born in Kosovo!). I say “diminutive” – he is just an inch shorter than me at 5ft 7inch. (I was 5ft 9 most of my adult life but…). Colombia? They are South American and therefore bound to be very competitive and skilful by default. Nuff Said. Out.

Paul Butters

© PB 30\6\2018.

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