I’m not sure if ‘inspiration’ is the right word here, but I’ve been thinking about the players of the past who might not be legends, or even memorable, but who hold a special place in my heart.
It came to me when I was trying to think of a five-a-side team from Chris Moyses era, and I got thinking about one of the players on the list. I won’t go into too much detail, but he was a player whom I admired, whom I felt could have a great career ahead of him, but who didn’t go on to greater things, or at least hasn’t yet.
It got me thinking back through time, right back to my first couple of seasons as a fan. I remember players we signed who I thought would be massive for us, only for them to maybe score once or twice and then disappear. Players who might not be described as part of our history, certainly not in a big way, but who I’ll always talk fondly of.
As an example, but without giving too much away, the first World Cup I really got into before it started was Italia 90. I remember Mexico 86, it was the first real experience of football I had and came before my first proper game, but by 1994 I was a football fan, bordering on fanatic. I collected the stickers, I read papers and got Shoot, Match and World Soccer magazine (yup, I was that much of a nerd). I remember reading ahead of USA 94 about a player called Josip Weber, who scored five goals on his debut for his country. I instantly believed that Belgium would win the World Cup and started telling all my mates at school about the new world superstar Weber.
He didn’t score once for the Belgians and his move to Anderlecht on the back of that debut saw little improvement. He was notable as one of the last players of the era to represent two nations, Croatia and Belgium. I’ll always remember Josip Weber as something he wasn’t though, a cult hero of a kind.
That’s the type of player I’ve been thinking about for the Imps and, in the absence of matches and looking to take people’s minds off the current situation in the world, I’ve put together a list of a few here.