I might not be that old or that grey just yet, but I’ve already bored people on countless occasions with tales of how I could and should have become a professional footballer. Did you know that I once played two games for Scunthorpe United youth team? Impressed? I can imagine you all falling off your barstools at the majesty of the achievement.
But my favourite yarn is reminiscing about my time as a schoolboy player at Doncaster Rovers Football Club. That 18-month spell was thoroughly miserable from a footballing perspective – I was a 14-year-old village boy who simply couldn’t cut the mustard against lads from the big, bad town of Doncaster; some of whom were already shaving twice a day and pushing prams.
No, my time at Doncaster was only memorable because the three first team managers who came and went during that less-than-tumultuous 18 months were Billy Bremner, Dave McKay and Joe Kinnear. Bremner and McKay are bona fide football legends; both title winners with Leeds United and Derby County respectively, and decorated internationals. Kinnear was also a fine player with Spurs and Ireland and a top class manager during his time at Wimbledon in the 1990s.
However, Kinnear is now considered to be little more than a footballing laughing stock. Incapable of pronouncing the names of players, the grandiosely titled Newcastle United Director of Football’s latest clanger was to try and sign a player who was already at the club. Yes, it’s true. While watching a Birmingham City match, Kinnear was raving about young midfielder Shane Ferguson. However, when he asked about potentially signing the player, Birmingham bosses thought he was winding them up – because Ferguson is on loan from Newcastle for the remainder of the season.
A Birmingham City source told the Sunday People newspaper in England: “Ferguson had a particularly good game that night and Joe Kinnear told one of our officials he was interested in signing him.
“At first our guy thought he was joking but then he realised Kinnear did not know Ferguson was already a Newcastle player.”
You’ll never hear me boast about my tenuous affiliation to Kinnear again.