On Edinho

There was a moment at Valley Parade, well, ten minutes to be exact, when football changed and Bradford City was never the same again. Edinho was at the centre of this moment, a moment which is forever etched into the fabric of the club we follow.

There had been a buzz around Bradford that something was going on at City. We had heard that the club doctor had been called down to do a medical on Friday afternoon with a new signing. Sure enough five minutes before the start of an infamous local derby with Huddersfield we saw the fruits of City’s transfer.

So the tannoy announced:

“Edinho, from Brazil”

Bradford City, the team of affable lumper Bobby Campbell, of Mark Mega Ellis, of Don Hutchins and of Bazza Gazza, had moved on to signing Brazilians. We knew nothing about Edinho, except that the sort balding fella paraded in front of us looked nothing like the Edinho who represented his country in the 1982 World Cup, but we were impressed. We had arrived.

Granted we were struggling at the foot of the division but we had Chris Waddle, we had a new striker signed from Premiership Southampton for £650,000 who looked like the real deal and now we had a man from the cultural home of football. We had our own Boy From Brazil.

Edinho must have taken his seat in the director’s box to watch his new side around the time that Mark Schwartzer flapped at a cross and Town took the lead. If he was not regretting his decision to sign at that point he was three minutes later when Kevin Grey left Gordon Watson, the big man Edinho had been signed to partner, was left in a heap on the floor with a leg break I do not even want to think about.

For the record Chris Waddle equalised as Watson was taken to the BRI and the game finished 1-1. Edinho must have been have wondered what he had let himself in for or perhaps, as we do with philosophical hindsight, he chalked the afternoon up to the fickle fates of football. An afternoon, an Iccarus story of reaching and falling. It is those stories that constitute our experiences as football fans. It is the collections of anecdotes about opportunities taken and missed that is the fibre of what we do on a Saturday afternoon. Hence the name “The Boy From Brazil & Other Stories”.

All of which overlooks a few things about Edinho. He was a fair player. He was something of a Brazilian Bobby Campbell in that he could handle himself and was not afraid to “Get stuck in”, but came preinstalled with a few tricks and step overs. He was a cheeky sort. As other players were getting booked for removing shirts in celebration, Edinho got to have his disrobing glory cause he wore two shirts.

The story of Edinho though, like most things in the fragmented years of Chris Kamara, is best told but snippets, each story told like jigsaw piece to a puzzle that you do not have all the pieces to.

There was the time that Edinho was invited to join a family who had seen the striker dining alone in Fatty Arbuckle’s in Bradford. Edinho was very grateful and picked up the tab of course, although dinner conversation was limited by the that that the Brazilian’s English ran to the pretty expression “Hello”.

Or the time that Edinho and Peter Beagrie combined over at Huddersfield with a sweeping 50 yard move that put City top of the First Division. Personally I had travelled 400 miles to see that game. I wouldn’t have missed that moment for the world.

Charlton and the tiny striker grows and extra foot (or hand) to get a diving header.

Mr and Mrs Edinho wandering through Bradford City centre one Christmas with his young child holding hands between them, City fans applauding, waving and wishing the guy all the best. Bradford folk then not being easily impressed this was the West Yorkshire equivalent of a mobbing.

Edinho coming on, popping the ball at Peter Swan’s head and sparking a 21 man brawl against Bury. He so did not deserve sending off.

Edinho left City after Paul Jewell took over and signed Lee Mills and Isaiah Rankin for the front pairing. Had Robbie Blake not emerged to fill Rankin’s shoes when the £1.3m striker misfired Edinho could have had another chance, but by that time he was away to Dunfermline (and Andy Tod) and then back to Portugal.