Like all good Latics supporting fathers, I dream that one day my son will play for my beloved team. Yes, maybe there are other important things in life like a good education, manners, safety and general happiness, but as long as he’s on the telly and is stupidly rich, who really gives a monkey’s these days? Rich and famous wins every time in my book.
In order to give my son the best possible start in life, I’d brainwashed him with countless paused and replayed Sky Plus Premier League matches and DVDs of La Liga, and I’ve recently started taking him to kiddies’ football coaching at weekends in the hope he may get spotted. It’s an early start (for him in life, and for me on a Saturday), and I’ve had to postpone my Friday night drinking habits and early morning ‘mummy and daddy time’ to accommodate, but there are signs of development already.
When I first told him that he would no longer be confined to playing in the garden, but would on Saturday be demonstrating his talents to a wider audience, he demanded that his agent be present. I did point out to him that he was four years old and didn’t have an agent, but in the best interests of all parties, I agreed to take up the role. I’m currently trying to contact Willie McKay and Craig Allardyce to see if they can give me any tips, and if anyone has their phone numbers, that would be a massive help.
So, a couple of months down the line, we are now well into this coaching malarkey, and he’s taken to wearing an alice band, Beckham diamond ear-studs, Bellamy ‘tattoo sleeves’, orange boots and matching gloves (I’m trying to get compensation from FIFA for the half dozen snoods I recently purchased), and I do have to say my son, Emile-Titus, certainly looks the part.
I’ll be totally honest; his footballing skills aren’t that great yet, and he struggles to kick the thing without standing on it and falling over, but we are starting with the basics before we get onto all that technical stuff. He’s already perfected the art of tumbling at the mere hint of contact whilst clutching his face, and can wave an imaginary card and mouth obscenities at officials like a good ‘un.
Only last week he scored a screamer from at least a yard out, and celebrated by running past the watching parents, shaking his head with a raised finger to his pursed lips. I must say, it is an improvement on the crossed ‘handcuffed’ wrists celebration from a fortnight ago, which was dedicated to his mate Nathan-Amr who’d been grounded for three weeks by his mum for cellotaping the cat’s legs together.
Getting my lad so absorbed in football at a tender age is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. A down side of this however, is he’s no longer satisfied with his ‘poor people’ toys. Before he started with the football, he was happy with his batman bike. Now it’s got to be a top of the range Italian model with contra-revolving wheel trims. The Ben 10 watch is ‘out’, and it’s all Breitling this and Cartier that. I’ve had to make the Mrs work double shifts to help make ends meet. I’d help out myself, but my bad back kills me when it’s damp, so much so that I could hardly carry my golf clubs round Shawhill last Tuesday.
Something I may have to seek advice on is when it’s time for the ‘facts of life’ chat. Pre-football, the birds and bees analogy seemed dead easy. Now he has entered the world of the modern footballer however, how are you supposed to use Mother Nature to broach the subject of ‘roasting’?
Saying all that though, it’ll be worth it when he reaches the promised-land and he’s the next Gazza, Joey Barton, Wayne Rooney, John Terry, or Ashley Cole – great role models to a man, and anyone who says any different is clearly talking out of their Arsenal.
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