Folan the Obscure

Posted by on Sep 18, 2009 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

There can be few players who sound more like the hero of a Thomas Hardy novel than Hull City’s Caleb Folan, recently acquired by Middlesbrough on loan. Most of those who have evoked nineteenth century literature in the past have been let down by prosaic, first names; hence we have the Oxford United pairing of Gary Briggs and Malcolm Shotton, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Philliskirk and, most memorably, Wayne Entwistle — surely his parents should have called him Garth, Gabriel or Jude? Perhaps only Titus Bramble matches Folan in bringing to mind the pastoral landscapes of Victorian Britain.

Folan’s signing has not been met with the popping of champagne corks. I’d put him in the category marked “looks the part” along with Marcus Bent and Darius Henderson. As Alan Hansen might say, he shows “pace, strength, power, athleticism”; but where are the goals? For an out and out striker, a 4 year, 15 goal spell at Chesterfield’s Saltergate shouldn’t be the section you stress most on your CV. Flick-ons and lay-offs are all very well but unaccompanied by consistency in finding the net, they begin to look futile. Still, Phil Brown’s graceless obituary for a player still on Hull’s books makes you root for the Irish international.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. Columbine Harvester
    September 21, 2009

    Caleb Folan is actually Hollywood comedian Damon Wayans in disguise. Wayans' next role is as a fish out of water Quaker boy living the life of an international footballer, so Hull agreed sign him as he 'got his method on'. All true.

  2. MattR
    September 21, 2009

    Phil Brown's still in a job, isn't he? How?

  3. Lloyd
    September 21, 2009

    Brown is looking rather lost, isn't he? Like he's on some kind of trip…

    Hardy characters who most remind you of Championship personalities:

    Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of the d'Urbervilles) – Roy Keane; tragic earthy character who is just too honest?

    Michael Henchard (The Mayor of Casterbridge) – Paul Sturrock; organises a shite party that no one wants to go to.

    Clym Yeobright (The Return of the Native) – Brendan Rodgers; you should never go back.

    Eustacia Vye (The Return of the Native) – Jamal Campbell Ryce; longs to escape the heath in order to lead a more adventure-filled life.

    Edred Fitzpiers (The Woodlanders) – Joey Barton; you wouldn't want him anywhere near your daughter. Or your son

  4. Lanterne Rouge
    September 21, 2009

    Lucetta La Sueur (The Mayor of Casterbridge) – Tommy Smith – fluttered his eyelids before moving on to better things

  5. Ben
    September 21, 2009

    Phil Brown? Graceless? Shurely shum mishtake…

  6. MattR
    September 22, 2009

    More fine Brownisms here. “We're not going to rush Jimmy Bullard back. But I really want to. But the physio says we shouldn't rush him back and aggravate the injury, and of course he's right. Except that he really is ready and I want to play him on Saturday….”,19528,11661_5575831,00.html


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