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I need a hero
By [name removed]
I still secretly harbour a desire to become a professional footballer. Most young males do. Usually I can be rational and dismiss the fantasy, however at times of high confidence, say after I've managed ten consecutive kick-ups or I've tackled someone half decent on a Sunday morning, the fantasy returns to niggle at my sub-conscience.

I know that I am nowhere near good enough. Aside from anything else I'm too unfit, too small and panic when I get inside the opposition half. At most I've the potential to be a better than average Sunday League fourth division right back with a quick mind and decidedly slower feet. It's not that I don't know what to do - I'm forever shouting tactical advice, probably all wrong, but I try and sound confident. It's just my feet, especially the one on my left leg which team mates tell me should be left for standing on only, that just don't seem to do what I tell them. I'll carefully and confidently line up a cross-field pass and, following all the training manuals, I'll kick through the ball, following through at the point at which I am aiming, occasionally cutting my foot across the ball (in order to get it to spin gently back into the path of my team mate). And the result? Usually a throw on to the other team and sometimes embarrassingly one on the right hand side of the pitch when I was passing to the left.

I'm not appallingly bad, just average. Stronger than I look and with a turn of pace which will shock the opposing left back for the number of seconds I actually manage to maintain control, I can play a reasonable role in a Sunday League team. I can say that now but, after a few beers or another hoof up the line from the right back on a Saturday afternoon, it all changes. If I played every day...I wouldn't drink if I was a professional...I'd make sure I was fit...if only I hadn't had that injury (which injury?)...if only my Dad had cared about my desire to play football... It's all bollocks. I know that. It's just when one of those twenty-five yard screamers goes in down the park and all your mates gather round...

I really do wish I was a professional football player. What a life. Up at 9.45 to make it to Stanmore by 10.15. Afternoons free. The girls. The money. The car - even Devon White had a huge BMW with the number plate BIG DEV - mind you, he must have had a few signing on cheques in his career. I'm jealous. That's it. That's why I was actually angry when I heard about Chris and Andy Johnson. I saw them every Thursday and Saturday at the Ice-O-Bar and Kudos pissed up. They both had talent and they both wasted it. Look out Ludden or you'll be next. Sort it out. It's not fair - if I had their talent, etc etc.

I get the piss taken out of me by my mates by how obsessed I am with the Watford players. I chat to Robbo in the pub every now and then and say hello to Boycey, a young wing back from the junior team who I once gave a lift to the ground. It's partly because I envy them but it's mostly because I am so in awe of them. They get to play the best game in the world, my second favourite pastime (in case she reads this) and the bastards get paid. There must be something special about them. None that I've talked to are that bright, it's just somewhere along the line they got good at football and then somewhere a bit further on they got lucky and got signed up by a club.

Doh. It's so unfair. I'd do it for free and work nights, or even afternoons. Imagine the thrill of walking out there for your home debut. Six thousand people you don't know chanting your name and cheering you on. Paying to see you do something you really, really love doing. I wish I could. Never mind, I'll just leave it to them, write about it as often as I can and maybe, if I'm lucky one day, I'll get paid to write about it (Is that a hint, mister? - Ed). Perhaps I'll stop pissing them off in the pub. Then again, maybe I won't.