GLF 72: Tommy salutes Andrew Mumford.
Why modern football isn't rubbish
Athleticism.Fitness.Pace.Three nouns synonymous with modern football.With every aspect of players' bodies and diet governed by cutting edge sports science, footballers have never been in better shape.Flick on Match of the Day and you'll see real, proper athletes going at it, 100 miles an hour.Undoubtedly embracing advancement in sports technology has brought benefits to the spectacle of football but has this been to the detriment of skill and individuality?
Into this world steps Llanelli's twenty eight year old midfielder Andrew Mumford.For those lucky enough to avoid our home defeat to the Welsh minnows, Mumford is an overweight, slow midfielder.He looked out of place.Like he got lost on the way to Greggs. Like he was on the pitch to give opposing fans ammunition for derisive chants. But, from where I was sat, he also looked like he was strolling through the game against the boys in claret and amber.
Who is this anachronism of modern sport?Mumford's career highlight seems to be winning Swansea's player of the year in 2002/2003 whilst in, what is now, Coca Cola League Two.Then he lost his way a bit, going on loan to a few clubs and ending up at Llanelli in 2007.He has now found some consistency, last season helping bring the Welsh Premier League Championship to Stebonheath Park for the first time.This is all against a backdrop of childhood diabetes, alleged pre-match drinking sessions and an obvious lack of fitness.
He is definitely not an athlete.He looks more like the guy sitting next to you in the stand than the footballers you're watching on the turf.Though in an era when big money players are increasingly detached from the average supporter I don't know if that is a bad thing.Think footballers are a different species? Think that they inhabit a different planet? Think they're different from you? Look at Andy Mumford and think again.He's got a beer belly but the first touch of a Brazilian.He'd probably be immense in your fives team.
I was sorry to see Mumford getting some stick from the Well faithful.The player was said to be hurt after the 1st leg at Airdrie.A link from a messageboard also displayed witty Wikipedia work from cybersteelmen; mainly highlighting the player's supposed love of McDonalds.If you're fat, you automatically expect to receive abuse from football fans.However I want the balance shifted; less emphasis on fitness, more on flair.We've been lucky in recent years to see the likes of Faddy and McCormack play with skill and trickery but these are the exception to the rule.Too many players are devoid of personality, forgetting why they first fell in love with this great game.
Sometimes modern football feels soulless.Some say real "characters" have left football; men of a byegone era.Footballers are more machine-like than ever but there will always be players who break the mould (almost literally).Let's celebrate the game's idiosyncrasies.Andrew Mumford, I salute you.
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