I wonder what happened to Mickey Boot?

October 23, 2010

Written by Neamman

Back in the 60s, perhaps 66 or 67, we had a young player who appeared in 3 games in a month, I saw his debut. His name was Mickey Boot and he scored 2 goals in those three games, the one I saw was a nice shot from outside the penalty box. Yet he never appeared for us again and soon thereafter moved to South Africa. I always wondered why he never progressed, was he a drinker? Did he not have the right mental strength? He certainly had the skills but obviously not all that was needed to succeed!!

The reason Mickey Boot came to mind was when I saw Jerome Thomas score for WBA. Now its not a strict comparison as he has carved out a reasonable career for himself but I remember the first time I saw him. I was at Barnet watching our reserves beat Chelsea 5-0, Jeffers scored twice, I forget who else did. Thomas and Juan [a Brazilian left back some of you may remember] were on the left wing. I watched astounded as the two of them raced up and down with the ball virtually tied to their feet, their control was so good. I had those two players pegged as potential first teamers but in the end neither made it, Juan due to knee problems.

I know the game has changed but I miss watching the way young stars worked their way up through the ranks and ultimately made it to the first team. Our double team of 71 was largely made up of youngsters who had played for us in the old SE Counties youth league plus the Football Combination. The great teams that clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds had in the 70s were largely home grown boys with 3 or 4, usually high profile stars, judiciously brought to fill in weaknesses. It was the pleasure in spotting and watching the youngsters develop that melded you to you team in a very large degree. I can remember the anticipation when Charlie George made his first team debut, we all knew he was special and it was even in the papers prior to the event. Sadly these days most teams, at least in the EPL, rarely nurture youngsters through their ranks. I think the Manchester United class of the early 90s is the last example of a great team comprised mainly of home grown lads.

But perhaps this is changing, finally the youth academy at Arsenal is starting to bring through a steady stream of youth, players steeped in the Arsenal way. In the early years of this decade we had a very successful youth team but none of them made it as regulars, Sidwell, Harper, Thomas to name a few were all good players, but not good enough for Arsenal, Cole being the exception. We also had another youth cup winning team recently but now we are starting to see some of them in our first team squad as regulars, Gibbs and Wilshere are already established and there are several more on the fringes.

I, for one, hope that this is the start of a new trend, that we go back to producing a steady stream of youngsters who will be given their chance, a realistic chance, in the first team. For those of you who have the opportunity I recommend you start to attend the youth and reserve games as often as you can. They usually are free and, who knows, maybe you will be the first one on this board to tell us about the NEW Jack Wilshere or Cesc Fabregas!!!!

West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the way to Invincible – written by BigRaddy

September 25, 2010

Always good to play a newly promoted team at home after a busy (and triumphant) week. West Brom according to Mr Wenger will be a tough test and one of the best sides we could play. Tosh, I say – he couldn’t have asked for a better fixture considering the progressive destruction of his squad.  If we don’t pick up 3 points today we may as well hold up the white flag regarding the title.

We go into the game on the back of a confidence boosting and easy victory over our local rivals. The dressing room must be awash with testosterone which AW will be looking to unleash upon a team who have started brightly having taking a spanking at Stamford Bridge, but drawing with Spurs and beating Man City last time out (CC). This must be tempered by an appalling away record – WBA have just 4 points from a possible 52 in their previous away games in the PL.

In Roberto di Matteo WBA have a fine young coach who will be assuring his side that they can escape a beating akin to the 6-0 at the Bridge.  Should ex Arsenal youth player Jerome Thomas start,  it could be an opportunity to apologise to Jack Wilshere for the push that got Thomas sent off with a 3 match ban. You may recall Jack refused to take Thomas’s hand after he was elbowed, JT reacted to the snub by pushing Jack and got red carded.

I cannot see Di Matteo playing anything but a cautious game hoping to counter attack. He must know that should Arsenal score early Scott Carson will be in for a very busy afternoon.

My team …..

Bench:  Chesney, Vela, EE, JD  Diaby/TR

This assumes Rosicky and Diaby will not recover from injury. If either is fit, I would replace Denilson. Vela didn’t do enough at WHL to start today, neither did Djourou. I would like to see Chesney get a start but expect Almunia to play. It would be good to give Chesney a bench seat thereby making him feel included in the first team set-up.

We have been playing fast, fluent football, have become more incisive upfront with less pitty-patty around the opposition box and we seem to have sorted out some of our defensive frailties. In short we have been superb up to now. Even at Sunderland where we had our backs to the wall there were many positives, not least of which was the knowledge  we should have won the 3 points despite a lacklustre first half. Wilshere has been superb and is growing rapidly into the team, though I expect him to be rested as soon as Diaby and Cesc are fit. We remain unbeaten and on the way to another Invincible season 😉

This to me is an surprising fact about West Bromwich, two of my favourite singers were born there. Robert Plant  ex Led Zep and  Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Now to me Lizzy are the quintessential Irish band and I always thought Lynott came from Ireland – but no, he was born in Sandwell General, West Bromwich.  Wherever he was born, he played in one of the finest bands ever to walk the planet, RIP.

Can we win? Of course. Will we win? Certainly.