Saturday, 12 November 2011


As a kid I went to Highbury Grove School and as you would expect the majority were Arsenal supporters. We had a house system; mostly due to the Headmaster Rhodes Boyson’s delusions of grandeur and I was in Oxford House. Our House master was called (improbably now) Mr Bean, George Bean and he was a good bloke. Eddie Kidd was in my house and often got a lecture about bunking off to go on his motorbike. He made it in his chosen field, although tragedy was to strike. But I digress. The Arsenal connection was that Chris Whyte also went to Highbury Grove while I was there. Our PE teacher was the former Sp*rs double winning Welsh winger Cliff Jones. This meant that football ‘lessons’ were led by a teacher who had been there, done that and yes, he was a good bloke also.

Even at that age you could tell when someone was on a different level. I didn’t particularly know Chris that well but I suppose I would be expected to say that he was head and shoulders above the rest of us on the pitch; not so, although Chris was far better than most of us there were a couple of kids that were supremely gifted with natural talent who shone when they stepped on the pitch but guess what? They didn’t get anywhere. Not due to injury or lack of opportunity but because they didn’t want it badly enough. I guess the difference was that Chris had the work ethic that allowed him to forge a successful career as a professional footballer.

So when I see professional footballers who don’t appreciate their position; a position that I know they have worked hard to get to, it makes me sad. Sad because, to be one of the few people who actually live the dream that many of us had when we kicked a ball at school, and to take it for granted through arrogance and petulance is unforgivable.

Neither Chris or Mr Jones showed any arrogance or petulance and that’s part of why I remember them.

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