Football is such an emotive subject, and I have long since accepted that another man's views are his right and prerogative, and as such, rarely get drawn in to deep debates on the finite details of the beautiful game. This non-confrontational approach stems, in part, from the fact that I travel alone, whether home or (occasionally) away, to and from games and have only and ever had my own standpoint to come to terms with and/or accept.
That said, on Saturday, as I walked from my normal parking position by the Sainsbury's depot off Anchor & Hope Lane, I followed some chaps decked in red and white who were discussing one José Vítor Moreira Semedo. There was three of them. The tallest suggested to the smallest that Semedo's absence would be a huge loss to the team. The middle man questioned his sanity and proclaimed that Shelvey should be picked ahead of our Portuguese talisman "all day long". The smallest man remained quiet.
I slowed my usual pacey march down to hear how this developed....
Mr. Tall continued, "He's the only player of his type in our club, maybe Spring, but not to that standard". I nodded to myself, eagerly awaiting the response. Mr. Small said nothing and checked his mobile as if searching for a distraction. "We'll miss him defensively, he breaks things up, protects the back four, feeds a Racon or a Bailey". The Middle Man was having none of it, insisting that Shelvey was the better option, somehow 'reinforcing' his views with a tenuous reminder of Shelvey's youthful age! "He's (Shelvey) got energy, can create and score goals". Mr. Tall responded as if he'd sucked the thoughts from my own brain, "Yeah, but that's what Bailey and Sam are all about, what we need is someone to stop them scoring, protect Dailly's legs".
It went on. Mr. Small remained silent throughout.
As I tired of the debate I passed by the chaps but took a glancing look at Mr. Small. At that point he looked at me, raised his eyebrows and smiled. He was far older than both his companions.
I couldn't help it, playing dumb I said "who's in for Semedo today chaps?"
Nothing from the taller two, but our Mr. Small broke his silence at last, "Keith Jones, with any luck"!