DCSIMG

Holding out for a hero...

Robin Friday. Cardiff City. Nineteen Seventy-Six.

For a decade this man has looked down from my bedroom wall.

Different homes, different towns, different me. Always the same Robin Friday.

Always the same poster.

Always the untucked blue kit, the tangled George Best hair, the resplendent V-sign being casually flicked at the Luton Town goalkeeper. Somewhere out of shot the ball is hitting the net.

Robin Friday. Never playing in the top-flight doesn't mean he wasn't the greatest footballer of all time.

A half-wit, according to my father. He didn't like how Friday once defecated in the kit bag of future BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson. That just made him more of a hero in my eyes. I like to think of it as a pre-emptive strike on behalf of fans who've had to listen to Lawrenson's own brand of defecation on Match Of The Day for the last 10 years.

Not that I watch it. I don't even like football. Watching Barnsley in my youth put me off for life. I just like Robin Friday.

I like how, when the legendary World Cup referee Clive Thomas told him he'd just scored the best goal of all time, Friday told him he should come and watch him more often because he scored peaches like that every week.

I like how he retired when he was 25.

But therein lies the problem.

Therein lies why this week, rueful and unsteady, I stood on a chair and took the poster down.

It's not that I don't still love Robin Friday. I do. Strong word perhaps but not one I use lightly.

There's only a few things I love. British Sea Power, brown winklepickers, Calvin and Hobbes, at a stretch my family.

But Robin Friday, Cardiff City, 1976, is no longer a man I can admire.

Because Robin Friday, Cardiff City, 1976, is no longer a man who is my senior.

I've overtaken him. He is now but a boy compared with me.

And if a poster suggests admiration, to admire those younger suggests dotage.

Respect is okay. Respect shows a certain equality. And love is fine. Love can be protective or proud. But not dotage.

Which leaves a problem because now I have this blank space eating up my wall and a growing list of people who are too youthful to fill it.

Maybe that's why parents never put up posters. Maybe it's because the only people older than them seem to be politicians, royals and writers. And they're never worth much. They're never photogenic. Except Caroline Flint. Obviously.

Which means perhaps I should put her poster up. Caroline Flint. House of Commons. Two Thousand and Nine.

It doesn't quite ring the same. But then nothing ever does.

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page