27 Dec

Thursday 26th December 2013

Nottingham Forest         2.0          Queens Park Rangers    

(Halford, Reid)

Once in a while, a player will go even further than make a position his own. Occasionally, a player will come to have a specific position christened in honour of him. The most obvious that springs readily to mind is the ‘Makelele’ role which consists of playing in midfield but sitting very deep and screening the two central defenders so much so that a foray forward beyond the halfway line is out of the question. Apparently, no other team prior to 2000 had ever deployed such a midfielder; it’s as if Billy Bremner, Didier Deschamps, Dunga, Lothar Matthaus and our very own John McGovern never even existed. This is not to take away from the achievements and talent of Claude Makelele but just to draw attention to the notion that the position existed prior to Makelele; but kudos to him for defining the role.

However, another springs to mind and is stimulated by tonight’s game: the Paul Warhurst. You remember him? Surely. You know, the defender turned striker who enjoyed moderate success with, amongst others, Oldham Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday. Ian Marshall and Matt Elliott are also worthy of an honourable mention who fit the profile of the solid and lumbering-defender-cum-striker. After tonight’s game, it is surely time to welcome our very own Greg Halford into this specially designed hall of fame. This isn’t the first time he has been deployed in such a position for the Reds and nor indeed his career. Billy has thrown him up top on a sprinkling of occasions, most notably at Watford early in the season when I remember him having a great game there and very nearly snatching a late victory. I think it might well be time for our Greg to step up from the rather withering embodiment of the classic ‘utility’ player to defining the ‘lumbering-but-incredibly-effective-defender-cum-striker’ position. The campaign starts here. Who’s in?

Thought not. Anyway. Makelele (and now Halford) are not the only ones to have a specific position christened in their honour. Here are 6 of the best:

  1. The ‘Franz Carr’: this refers to a winger with electrifying pace and more than a few tricks in their locker and an uncanny ability to sky their final cross high into the crowd behind the goal.
  2. The ‘Kevin Campbell’: this comes to define the player who for some unknown reason, metamorphasises from liability to match winner from one season to the next.
  3. The ‘Danny Sonner’: to refer to a limited and plodding midfielder, perhaps best remembered for missing an open net with a diving header against fierce local rivals.
  4. The ‘Barry Roche’: to define a player who enjoys a spectacular debut only to make no real discernible or long lasting impression hereafter. (Honourable mention to Tony Laughlan too).
  5. The ‘Johnny Metgod’: to refer to an outrageously talented midfielder who struts around the park and uses their skill to disguise a total lack of pace. Will occasionally score unbelievably good goals from direct free-kicks. (Honourable mention to Lewis McGugan)
  6. The ‘Brian Rice’: to denote a lightweight and pace-challenged winger who does very little apart from score perhaps your most memorable goal ever in an FA Cup quarter final.

Tonight’s game sees a brand new category though: the ‘Andy Reid’. This signifies a player who plays to the whistle and cares not a jot that all other players around him have stopped and are positioning themselves for a three kick they thought they were awarded due to an offside decision going their way. (Honourable mention here too to Paolo Di Canio for his similar effort for West Ham United against Manchester United in an FA Cup tie). Rob Green really doesn’t enjoy much luck does he in front of the Trent End goal – I am of course thinking back to David Johnson nicking the ball from him back in his Norwich City days.

Beyond specific positions though, the pride came back tonight and our toys stayed well and truly in our pram with a disciplined and positive performance from kick off. We tend to do this, that is, perform well against the sides towards the top of the table: we have now defeated Leicester City, Derby County, and QPR and also been a little unlucky in only drawing against Burnley. And lest we forget, another clean sheet.

Here’s hoping that Leeds United decide to deploy Ross McCormack in a reverse ‘Greg Halford’ role on Sunday.


3 Responses to “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.”

  1. Steve (@oakcott) December 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Regarding the campaign for “Greg to step up from the rather withering embodiment of the classic ‘utility’ player to defining the ‘lumbering-but-incredibly-effective-defender-cum-striker’ position”, I’ll join if someone teaches him how to shoot, (I’m not suggesting he is the only one that needs it!) i.e. when shooting look at the ball, not the target.

    • marplesdavid December 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      It’s a catchy campaign title: I was thinking of printing badges but you are absolutely right – shooting requires work.

  2. Phil Lengthorn December 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Surely this is not the same Andy Reid who spent a couple of seasons at the mighty Addicks doing very little except putting on a few extra pounds?

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