Something Sharpey stirs

When I was a kid, I mean a younger kid, I wanted to be Lee Sharpe.

Not that I was a Man U fan or anything, I started at the Bantams at 1991 and cemented myself as a City fan after following from Grandstand’s vidiprinter before that, but there was something about the way the young Sharpe went from Torquay to whooping Arsenal in the League Cup for the that appealled to me. I’d try mimic his tucked in run and sidestep, to some effect.

That all faded with the onset of puberty and the transfer to Leeds but I still have a glint of affection for Sharpe, affection that colours my view of someone who has been a poor performer for the Bantams for the past few years. I stuck up for him because of old loyalties.

But something is happening to Sharpey, something strange.

After three years of in out displays, or patchy football, of promising (me only perhaps) much but delivering next to nothing, Lee Sharpe is looking good.

Not good in the same way Benito Carbone looks good, just because he is, but good as in focused, good as in like he gives a damn.

Sharpe is eyeing Gareth Whalley’s place on the inside of midfield, left hand side. Like John Barnes he wants to turn his leftwingism into a more solid role anchoring, spraying a pass, feeding the ball. People who have only been watching Lee in claret and amber would rule out any chance of him converting from ineffectual shurker to quality and quantity ball player but those who saw him terrorise right backs in the early 90s might pause and think.

Lee Sharpe was brilliant, and not just in a City way but in a good enough to play for England way. If that talent comes back, and perhaps Jim Jefferies is the man to dredge it back out, then the final chapter in the career of Lee Sharpe may not have been written and City may have found a cracking player where previously there had been a crack.

And at least one City fan will be able to say that they never gave up on the guy.

Are City the real deal?

The papers were full of it, “OK 4-0, but don’t think this makes you any good”.

It seems that the boys of the press are sticking by the mid-table, 10th, bottom half, probably not go down predictions that they had tagged City with despite the thumping of Barnsley on the first day. No surprises there. The paper don’t need a memory, if they had one they might ask why the man who they said would not be at the club at Christmas if things were going bad scored an overhead kick for us in division one.

But the question remains. Are City the real deal or is this just opening day delight before the averageness that awaits?

Personally I thought City looked a class above Barnsley and I did not think Barnsley looked that bad. The discipline that saw Gareth Whalley on the goal line to clear Kevin Gallen’s shot just after Ashley Ward had scored his first penalty was the best example of what City have got and the other sides have not. Barnsley attacked pretty well, but defensively they and a lot of other teams in the division are a shambles.

David Wetherall, Robert Molenaar and on his day Andy Myers are good enough to get into any back four in this league but there is more to it than that. City are post-war London. The blitz has gone but the spirit is still there. The oneness that repelled some very good teams for the past two years is a sponge for the Nationwide league’s better forwards.

Whoever the members of the back four are, now that the cursed Ian Nolan has gone, will not matter because the motto and the mindset will be the same. For all the headlines of Benito Carbone’s overheads or Ash Ward’s Man of the Match display, its at the back that City separated themselves from Barnsley.

So if you are going to stay strong at the back and your forwards are likely to create you something, and lets face it Carbone, Ward, Blake, Jess et al are all creative Peter Beardsleys before they are deadly Gary Linekers.

The next 45 games are going to tell us if City are the real deal or not, but yesterday should have seen the guys at the papers reassessing the Bantams. They have us pegged as a Watford, bounced out of the Premiership with tails between our legs, but we had confidence build up by the solid back end to the season (Leeds excepted). It will take winning until March before they sit up and take notice of us on Fleet Street.

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