09.01.12

Ronay’s Wright/Bowie Comparisons Stop Just Shy Of Any Mention Of Underpaying SRV

Posted in Football at 11:22 pm by

Newly acquired goalkeeper Richard Wright didn’t feature for Manchester City in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat of winless QPR, no big surprise given the 34-year-old, most famously a fixture for Ipswich circa 1995-2001, hasn’t played more than 10 games in any campaign over the last decade.  That the perennial bench-warmer is now the property of the defending EPL champions strikes the Guardian’s Barney Ronay as something akin to, “catching a glimpse of a dog wearing a hat, or hearing someone describe in great detail what the colour red smells like, a mid-range Premier League goalkeeping version of that moment in the 1980s when the aged Let’s Dance-era David Bowie reappeared suddenly at the top of the charts pretending to be a regular guy who wears chinos and sings pop songs, but resembling to the child weaned on Wham! and Duran Duran a frightening alien robot-lizard disguised as a country estate agent.”

He seems unshakeably associated with a very specific era in English goalkeeping, a generation of itchy, jumpy, pink-faced young men maddened to the point of distraction by the evolution of the keeper’s role from shamefaced Gollum of last resort into a kind of spangle-shirted quarterback, the goalkeeper-athlete with his “distribution”, his goal somersaults, his bargingly self-important sprints downfield.

Goalkeepers of his era often seemed prone to calamitous strokes of ill fortune. Wright is remembered for the injury he sustained while warming up in a goalmouth after falling over a sign warning him of the dangers of warming up in the goalmouth. On his England debut he gave away two penalties, the first of which crossed the line after bouncing in off the back of his head. He also suffered a serious injury after falling out of his loft hatch at home, something I remember with a sense of distant kinship because I have also fallen out of my loft hatch and it is an unnerving experience, creating in that moment of freefall through the hatch a sense of having been betrayed on some basic level by the floor. Perhaps Wright, as he fell, also grabbed uselessly at a piece of yellow foam ceiling insulation, shredding it into horrible feathery strips and creating a mist of falling grit and fibres that stung his eyes and tickled his throat as he lay splayed on the carpet thinking: “This exact same thing happened to that goalkeeper. Richard Wright.”

 

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