On a slow news day, I’m more than delighted to ramble on about my favorite type of player.
The street footballer.
He is the rarest of breeds, especially in the modern game where being technically sufficient in all areas trump’s being above average in certain ones.
That, my friends, is a crying shame.
But it’s not all bad, the game itself has come to somewhat recognize an entertainer or ‘the X factor’ can draw crowds and enhance the overall supporter experience.
Special talents are wanted, but the truth is they must offer more than tricks to succeed these days.
The street footballer is the reason many of us fell in love with the game. They don’t adhere to the usual unwritten rules of football that most professionals have drummed into them from day one.
They are unpredictable, perhaps their most glorious feature. At times breathtakingly so, their touch allied with a no fear approach can lead to moments never before seen in the game.
Their control of the ball is above average, at times embarrassingly so. Making a professional football look completely foolish is rare, doing it repeatedly is the street footballers speciality. You will understand that at a certain level most defenders are of the mindset ‘he’ will do this or that, because 999 out of 1,000 will. The street footballer has the gallus to try something, usually a simple trick, that befuddles, because that move is considered below that level of play, and usually never attempted at the top levels of the game.
Boyhood tricks are usually left behind on the playground and trained out of nearly everyone, you almost never witness them at the elite level.
But when you do, it’s special. It makes football special. It’s the magic of the game, which was in danger of becoming flat due to negating tactics and a don’t loss rather than let’s win mentality becoming the norm, thanks Jose you wee bassa.
You took the ‘beautiful’ out of the game with your instructions and will to win at any cost (even the sport itself) replacing the will to entertain.
Again, a crying shame from a man who should have made a much better impact on the sport.
Special my arse. I’ve no respect for him, want him nowhere near my club ever, and look forward to his retirement.
Anyways, as three’s the magic number, let’s look at three street footballers who have made a real impact on the modern game. You might have others in mind, please remind us of those men below, they do deserve to be remembered by those fortunate enough to witness their talents on the field of play.
We all know Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone was voted Celtics best ever player.
I wasn’t involved in the selection, but that’s to say I disagree. In fairness, when it comes to these types of things, beauty is very much in the eyes of the beholders
The question isn’t who was the greatest Celt ever? Billy in my book.
It’s not which player was truly Mr Celtic?
It asks who was the best, ie the best with the actual football.
When viewed through that prism, I can fully understand why the wee redhead got the nod.
Our greatest was a pure street footballer, dazzling feet with silky skills that had the crowd drooling, especially in the world famous Bernabeu stadium where the best soon looked semi professional to the chants of ‘OLE’!
And of course he conquered all. I can’t recall reading Jimmy was completely instrumental to our famous European triumph, but I imagine defenders worrying about his tricks, his presence as the perfect outball a constant threat and niggle to be dealt with, at ones hazard.
One tale stands out. When facing the mighty Leeds in a huge tie, Jock repeatedly told the team to get the ball to Jimmy because he would ‘tear them apart’. He hadn’t bothered to speak to Jimmy about this, it came as news to him.
Apparently he appreciated the huge level of confidence placed on those slender shoulders, and subsequently proceeded to tear them apart en route to a famous scalp. It was clever of Jock, and events like that helped him earn the greatest player accolade.
He could have played for Brazil, and that’s as large a compliment as can be paid in some eyes.
He would be worth two hundred million in today’s market, and a YouTube sensation.
Paddy McCourt was a big hit because he was a street footballer, but one of the best ever graced the Hoops, and for that we should all be thankful.
The actual best ever produced his best football when he didn’t train. The Napoli chairman at the time knew he didn’t need more time to get familiar with the ball, he had almost Godlike control of that sphere already.
He wasn’t part of the week’s tactical drills, as that risked losing the street footballer style that had propelled Diego Armando Maradonna to the summit of the sport.
His mind and body were to be kept fresh for real battles only.
Two legendary Scuddettos followed, a masterstroke by the southern Italians.
The goal of the century against England is almost the perfect embodiment of the street footballer (Messi would have tried a chip at the end) and I shall speculate that’s why it was successfully pulled off.
You’re not supposed to directly run at ten players with the ball at your feet,,ffs pass and move like everyone else.
His relationship with the ball was unlike anything I had ever witnessed before. He could do with an orange or a tennis ball, what Zidane could do with a football.
Jimmy’s skills brought him to the top of club football, but Diego literally conquered the world. Thanks to being the ultimate street footballer.
So Scotland and Europe succumbed, then Italian and world football was rocked to the core. It should be no surprise England and the biggest league in the world fell victim to a modern street footballer.
Wayne Rooney burst upon the Premiership scene as a 15 year old in a man’s body, and he knew how to use that extra strength the aforementioned never possessed. Within two years everyone knew he was too good for Everton, a big club in their own right.
When Sir Alex heard Newcastle were sniffing around, he made his then record move realizing Wayne was a special talent.
He wasn’t wrong.
In his Champions League debut he bagged three to become the youngest ever hat trick scorer in that competition.
Just joined, only 18, playing at the level for the first time ever,,,let’s break a record why not.
Sir Alex certainly has my footballing respect, he was the best of his generation, and it’s to his credit he protected and cajoled the player to maintain his exciting style, to keep his street footballer streak alive on the pitch.
He soon became the best striker in the league, taking that mantle from Thierry Henry, and for a decade was the mainstay of the biggest club in the land under the best manager in the land who didn’t suffer fools.
They cornered the EPL market, almost embarrassingly monopolizing it.
In 2008 he conquered Europe, lifting old big ears.
Wayne was far from perfect though, not a patch on the previous two players. He wasn’t a natural athlete, with a penchant for putting on weight if left unchecked.
He’s nowhere near any greatest ever conversation, unlike his left winger Ronaldo despite being similar ages.
Neither was he a very skillful player, having easily the worst touch or ball control of today’s trio.
He wasn’t extremely pacey either. Despite these disadvantages, the boy made it bigtime.
To these eyes, and my dads as he was an admirer, it was the fact he was still a street footballer in the modern game that carried him soo far. He terrorized that leagues defenses for a decade, too powerful to dispossess, too unpredictable to prepare for, he scored some outrageous goals including three from the halfway line. His movement up front helped clear a path for CR7 to destroy teams from the left wing and become the world’s best player.
Wayne Rooney was the best English striker of his generation.
It’s true Leo Messi can be classed as a street footballer, however despite being settled with play going through him, he lost his personal duel with Cristiano, the athlete technician leaving the skillful behind. This may be a sign the street footballer cannot be the best anymore, but that will never stop them trying to be.
To lose that type of player would be to the sports detriment, on that I’m sure we can all agree.
The beautiful game needs some beauty, not 22 robots.
Long live the street footballer.
An interesting topic Mahe and here’s my thoughts. Poverty produces the best footballers, you only need a tanner baw to play it. When I was young playing under the street lights, cars were infrequent, or kicking the tanner baw against the coal yard wall, dreaming of playing professional football. Football came before everything including learning, you lived for football, school football was your first organised games, then county football. The street urchin played football throughout the world where poverty was the norm, they are intrinsically interlinked. Jinky – Maradonna – Pele – Messi – Henke and the many other supreme football players who lit up our world
Last night I was restless, I just couldn’t settle, so my thought’s turned to the three F’s…Family – Football – Faith. I tried to divert my thought’s away from the first two as they turned to the scholarly posts of.. “The Gombeen Man” a great name.
I thought of the symbolism of the eagle, used on several things including lectern’s, what did it represent? Did it represent the soaring heights that they achieved presumably nearer to heaven, or spreading Gods word to the four corners of the world? and then it dawned on me, it was because they are birds of Pray.
Good morning, friends.
Thanks for the article. Glad you mentioned Paddy McCourt in passing. A player who should have had a much more rewarding career.
Bawheid – that made me smile, which is always good for a Monday.
Aff oot for a stroll in the gorgeous EK sunshine…..
Howdy,folks. Just about to depart for The Wedding of the Year. AKA The Day That Braintree Gets A Brain Transplant.
Looking forward to it immensely.
Glorious morning here in Renfrewshire…hope you are all well fellow Celts?
Mahe… great post and capturing some rare moments from the game we all love.
So glad you mentioned Paddy McCourtin there… what a dream when he was on the move … simply glorious and almost effortless.. but we know it’s not without effort. We should have seen much more of the Doire Pele…. but most of us here are privileged to have seen enough to remember forever.
We just know CCB will be in here reminding us youngsters ’bout Charles Patrick Tully.
My only other offers are Andy Ritchie and Matt Le Tissier… would even watch Sportscene & Scotsport just to see those two guys.
PS There will be an item in your inbox by the time you read this buddy…
Bawheid … had a laugh then… Bird of Pray 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Enjoyed that Mahe.
This guy was never on the same planet as these guys , but used to see him going to school dribbling a ball along the pavement. That was dedication.
Le Tissier is the only non Celt dvd I’ve ever bought. Magical player.
Thanks for the article. The tanner ba’ player is now a thing of the past and I saw a tweet the other day from Aaron Connolly (The Cynic) saying that he was watching boys football and 6/7 year olds were being told to get back into shape after scoring a goal and to cut out the fancy flicks. Players are so over coached now the pleasure is taken out the game in most cases. As others have said I loved paddy McCourt and it was often the highlight of the game when he came on. Effortless ability to go past man. Poetry in motion. No doubt as SES says CCB will regale is with tales of Charles Patrick but the playground player for me is McCourt. Paddy McCourts Fenian Army!!
AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, tanner baw players there is only two, and they both come from these islands, jimmy johnstone and georgie best, the only thing ive got against george is he thought wullie henderson was a better player than jimmy johnstone ,each to their own i suppose, as regards the derry pele he could not lace jimmy or georges boots ,another true story,😍
McCann Media Ltd, entered into agreements with broadcasting giant Sky and he carried out roles as a commentator, presenter or interviewer for football programmes or videos.
But HMRC challenged McCann’s set up and claimed he owed thousands in unpaid income tax and National Insurance payments covering 2013-2018.
JIM, where are you on this debate, the derry pele or jinky, georgie best or even wullie henderson sorry ghuys the derry pele could not lace wullie hendersons boots and dont accuse me of being a hun im from glenboig and my father was from croy,another true story,
COLOUR BLIND BHOY, how are you pal ,did you notice croy in my post, croy is the most celtic minded village in scotland and I havent been there for years, remember the may processions I do, my late father took me to them all 1961 till 1967 what a good year that was😍 BTW my father was tonys brother he died in 1982 but just maybe my uncle tony might have mentioned his name to you ill bet any money my dad knew your dad, another true story,👍
Willie Collow (@CollowWillie) Tweeted: ☘️☘️ https://t.co/AQT6Vnd3It https://twitter.com/CollowWillie/status/1508468618169921541?s=20&t=3QnfAc31j8M1OXOuzK9_xA
MAGUA, if your lurking hope you are ok,.god bless the famous glasgow celtic 👍
ATOB – those stories need telling and retelling – the first-hand stories are best. Imagine being in a crowd of over 130,000 … watching your team play and win. Your favourite players etc., etc…
No replays … just the evidence in front of your eyes … and those memories … a few match reports and occasional grainy foto or heavily edited Pathe highlights in the cinema.
We really are spoiled with endless streams and slow-mo and YouTube … but are we really better off.. has the mystery and magic been lost?
Bobby – aye, seem to remember a vhs video of Le Tiss … superb player!
You have mail buddy
just thinking of SOL and BOBBY hope you had a good time bhoys and everything went well,👍
JIM come on your time is up
just about to take the dogs out for their last walk of the night\ should have said that a few nights ago, bobby phoned me en-route,what a ghuy \he thought we were giving up the dogs because of joans heart problems, listen joan would give me up before the dogs,.another true story,
And all of that IS a true story!!!!
BOBBY yes, 100 hundred percent,👍
BOBBY hope you and sol are having a great time down there👍
tell sol did i tell you the time i went to billericay and basildon and it was closed ,have a good time bhoys GNAGB
Sol, best wishes to the lucky lad from all the Sentinels. Tell him Mahe says dont have kids, and could someone there possibly rate Bobby’s dancing outta ten please.
All the best
Good evening all from Shawlands.
Morning from central California
No doubt there’ll be more….
Gerry Cinnamon – Head in the clouds (Official Lyric Video) / GERRY CINNAMON
ASWGL 👍 👍
Another wee trio of songs from the brilliant Depeche Mode, enjoy.
Today went wonderfully well,and thank you to all who expressed an interest.
Absolutely fantastic venue,and in the best of company too-from both sides. So,all in all?
Grateful thanks for my invitation to share today with the two most important people there,Toni and Scott.
6 more sleeps 😉
Glad the big day went well. Save us a bit of cake!!
Where’s the confident narrative that Celtic will be 6 points ahead on Sunday?
I love the champions league at this time of year. Always some Latino fucks with god on their side getting bapped out in tears. Yummy.
Betcha Yemenis wish they were white so that some prick would come and save them.