From Kinshasa to Boro
Kinshasa is a pretty hair-raising place and for some time now, the Foreign Office has advised against all bar essential travel to the Congolese capital, depicted memorably in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Poisonwood Bible. After a close season packed full of speculation, Kinshasa-born Leroy Lita will now tick off a perhaps even more harrowing place of residence. He has signed a three year deal at a rumoured £20,000 a week to join Middlesbrough Football Club.
After an extraordinarily productive start to his senior career with Bristol City, Lita was a star of Reading’s 2005-6 promotion winning season after Steve Coppell took him to the club for a million pounds. His star rose in that first Premier League season, netting the winner against the Smog Heads in Royals’ first ever match in the top echelon – a breath-freezingly exciting encounter. Two brilliantly poached strikes at the City of Manchester stadium later and Leroy, whose full name sounds terrific when uttered in a Teesside burr, was marked as one of the hottest young talents at the Premier League diamond mine.
But in the words of the man himself, he hasn’t enjoyed the subsequent two seasons, “one bit”. Given his only significant impact was on loan to Norwich City, this isn’t surprising. The goals dried up to virtually nothing and although opportunities were limited, the rumours emanating from Reading involved off field problems: Avon and Somerset Police are more than fully familiar with the diminutive front man. That said, a new start in Yarm or Harrogate will suit him and although there is a tendency for the ball to bounce off his shins, he has an unerringly accurate shot and should not be written off. A potential promotion winning signing for the Boro.