Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Syndrome
Sometimes things just become so awful, so mind crushingly free of spark, that we are forced to seek solace among the ranks of the departed. We sit, head in hands, watching Gary Sawyer heading wide again, Brynjar Gunnarsson loping after a more fleet footed adversary, Clint Hill coming late to a challenge or Wes Morgan firing the ball over everyone’s heads into touch, and think to ourselves, enough is enough, remember Tommy Tynan, Michael Gilkes, Ian Wright and Ian Woan.
My fellow blogger Lloyd and I have identified this tendency as “Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Syndrome”. A paucity of current talent will lead one to hark back fondly to former days and take pleasure from the continued exploits of former heroes. Hence, in my case, I’ll be thrilled by every one of Kevin Doyle’s strikes for Wolves; in Lloyd’s, he’ll ask after Akos Buzsaky’s QPR displays. We’ll ferret through the team sheets of other clubs for evidence of an ex-Royal or Pilgrim who is still doing the business. Where Jobi McAnuff and Cillian Sheridan fail to inspire us, we’ll turn to Nicky Forster or Paul Wotton.
But sometimes even this can be degrading: disappointment at the hapless performances of Ibrahima Sonko, Nicky Shorey and Peter Halmosi will lead us to look down the leagues, ever further, in an attempt to identify someone – anyone – with Blue and White hooped or Green associations performing respectably. Hence, in recent weeks, a Yannick Bolasie stunner for Barnet and a James Henry hat trick for Millwall became rare seasonal highlights – something to brag about down the pub, albeit quietly: “he’s on loan from us, you know”. I even take a note of the emergence of Stuart Beavon, though he be the son of an ex-favourite and no more.
Shaka Hislop remained one of my favourites long after he departed Reading and Lloyd will still corner you to wax lyrical about David Norris. We’ll overlook the small fact that they no longer turn out for us, we’ll be outraged that others don’t remember them as Reading or Plymouth players, we’ll wait – not at all patiently – for new heroes to emerge.