“He’s the best player in amateur football”

Pic 4As amateur football players, managers and spectators we don’t half have a tendency for being dramatic in our opinions of each other. As we don’t have the luxury of television footage of our matches (Affinity TV matches excluded) our game is all about opinions and talking about what we have seen in the flesh.

There is a player kicking about at the moment that I won’t name, and for many years he has been regarded as

“the best player in amateur football”

and to be fair to the boy he may well be. I have heard this line time and again come from peoples lips. It’s when you delve a wee bit further into what they have to say that really sums up amateur football and the opinionated nature of the game for me. I had heard this guy’s name a few times and there was always a buzz about his him when he was mentioned, he was scoring loads of goals, playing for a well run club and always in and around the National Select team. After a few people had spoke to me about him I start to ask a bit more about who he was and why he was playing amateur. It wasn’t until I probed further that I began to find out that all these people bumming the boy up had never actually seen him play, ever. They were shouting about this guy being a worldy player when they didn’t even know what he looked like. Don’t get me wrong some people I have spoke to have played with the boy and speak very highly of him but these guys were in the minority. This happens all the time in amateur football, players reputations precede them and their name begins to strike fear into the opposition. How many times do you hear your own players or coaches say that

“(player name) is some player we will need to watch him on Saturday”

or hear your mates say

“if (player name) is playing against you they will pump you.”

I never pay any attention to these comments nowadays. These players probably don’t believe the hype surrounding them so why should I.

Opinions on players is one thing but opinions on other teams is a whole different ball game. I always try and get out to watch opposition teams, especially in the National competitions when the team we have been drawn against maybe isn’t in our association. The alternative to doing that is to ask around to find out what the team is like. I have heard some crackers when I have done this. Every season without fail someone will tell you

“they are in a false league position because they got put out all the cups and have played more games than us”

or even better

“they are dug meat, they beat us 5-0 last week but our Captain was injured.”

Sometimes I need to stop myself laughing in guy’s faces when I hear these crackers. Do people actually believe that the team that has just hammered them are actually worse than them? I would much rather hear the truth than someone being ridiculous, trying to save a bit of face.

I’ve also found that teams who have been very successful in recent years continue to enjoy great reputations of having quality teams when the truth of the matter is that they are maybe going through transitional periods and are a shadow of the side they once were. It is always interesting to listen to people talk about who will win the Scottish or the regional cups because it is always the same seven or eight teams who keep coming up. People talk about these teams as if they see them every week and will lament about what they will and won’t do this season. When you think about it realistically how can someone who’s team play at 2pm every Saturday possibly be sighted on a team who play in a different league at 2pm in a totally different city. They have maybe seen them play once or twice if they  are lucky and their league results might look good but that’s about all you can base your judgement on.

For the record I’m not saying that people aren’t entitled to their opinions, of course they are and I love to talk about amateur football the same as any of you. I just like to hear the reasoning behind these opinions and see for myself before I make my own mind up. I always take every team I play at face value, it’s only eleven men versus eleven men at the end of the day what could possibly go wrong!

Don’t believe the hype

The Gaffer



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