Goal Kick to Blackburn
A Goal kick at The Leazes End for the other team might be one of life’s most forgettable moments, no one is creating a 10 of the best list about this, and if they were then the winner would no doubt be Dimitri Kharine for simply wearing pants. Thankfully there’s one man that brings the illusion of joy to the proceedings. I’ve never met him, I don’t know who he is or exactly where he sits in The Leazes, but he’s been a part of my life ever since I moved to The Milburn Stand, and subsequently East.
You may not know him either but you may have heard him, as he roars, “Doooooodgy Keeeeeeper” come rain or shine, come Schmeichel or Crossley. Every time they’re about to take their kick his is a lone voice of intimidation, he is doing his bit.
Some haven’t heard him though, enough to think I’d made the whole thing up, like I wanted him to to be true. Almost like a shit sequel to Fight Club where the Tyler Durden character uses his alter ego to shout one of the forerunners of banter at Scott Carson twice a year.
But you only really know what you’ve got when it’s gone, and for a couple of seasons he vanished. I contemplated what had happened to our defender of goal kicks and the only logical answer was that he was suffering from locked-in syndrome. This is when the body shuts down and on first inspection it seems the patient has died, but the brain still exists, you hear everything, your thoughts are there, you are trapped in a shell of a body with only your mind and the slim chance of being able to blink. Anyway, I deduced this is what had happened for the purpose of a story.
A story that involves his grieving wife and two kids, wondering how to move on, should they move on? Terrible news it was. But every Saturday at 3 o’ clock they went to visit. Laura, his teenage daughter was heading back to Uni after Xmas and didn’t want to leave her da’. Joe, his 14 year old son was now starting on the wing for his school team, a young Stephen Glass his coach lauded him as. And his loyal wife Julie, who was alone. But 3 o’ clock Saturday was the time they would arrive at the hospital, set up home in his room and listen to the match, together.
With Mick Lowe’s constant chatter and John Anderson’s breathy sighs at another foreign injury the match kicked off. We were at home to Blackburn kicking uphill towards The Leazes, Morten Gamst Pedersen hadn’t yet realised he’d wasted his entire career whilst the battle of Turkey saw Tugay being 100% less racist than Emre.
16 minutes in and both teams are finding their feet, we’re somewhat crippled by the fact Greame Souness hates footballers and told every one of our lads that very thing before sending them out to play.
Finally a chance, Solano’s through-ball is overhit and it is beautiful. Who knew we’d see anyone actually moving forward again, this is what those at the Ujpest Dosza game must have felt I thought.
So there it was, our first attack, our first goal kick, and the words leave Lowe’s lips like he accidentally just ate a Cobb Salad, “Goal kick to Blackburn”.
Our man knows, his body may be dead but his brain sure as hell isn’t and he knows what’s just happened. “Goal kick to Blackburn”. A single tear rolls down his cheek, no one sees it glisten as it hits the pillow but he’s happy. Flashbacks flood his mind at thoughts of Sorensen shanking it right, Lehman ignoring his warcry, or even that time he accidentally did it to Shay Given before stopping at “Dodge”. This time it shanks left and goes straight out for a throw in.
The game continued as if nothing had happened, but it happened for him. Despite his inability to move or communicate with other humans he felt he’d been part of it, that thing he loves the most, putting off Brad Friedel.