Sore Crotch

Before I go into players diving and throwing themselves onto the ground, while I was away with Don (Shanks), and then getting on the telephone a few minutes earlier to Harry Redknapp, I mentioned this point and explained, ‘Don, do you know in my four years in Seattle I never saw a player do that in the KIngdome, the Sounders home stadium at that time,’ and he looked at me as much as to say……I continued, ‘Do you know why?’ He said, “no, but you’re going to tell me,” and I had worked it out that because we played on a Astroturf they daren’t go down like they do these days because they’d get burns like getting out of a car after crash on the Motor Racing surface once the car goes up in flames.’ Or words vey close to that and when Don was onto Harry I said Don ask him, as Harry was our assistant at that time. Harry laughed in agreement.

The point is, if you, the spectator imagine the worst possible conditions, and there’s none worse than Astroturf believe me, you have ever played on especially if you played in a pub team in the 60s or 70s or 80s even you must have played over on some pitches like Afghanistan. As a kid we played at The Eel Brook and you ask any young lad, you didn’t want to be brought down let alone throw yourself across that cinder field. The whole point is if all surfaces were Astroturf, and I see this at QPR when Tony Currie graced them, players would not dive or if they did they’d be looking for compensation.The Shoulder: I told you about how it happened. I was in complete agony and can only imagine it looked like nothing serious, but when your body stops and the shoulder continues, pain, excruciating pain. Although I played the following week and was, as I wrote earlier I think, an innocent bystander, thanks to a fantastic four goal spree by our Paul McGuire we avoided relegation, plus it helped that Alan Dodd played for Wolves and there should have been a Stewards Inquiry as knowing Alan the way I did, a brilliant defender who never did such things, he gave away two penalties, and when I fronted him about this his face went redder than one of the stripes on his favourite Stoke City shirts. After that match, and I had pulled off a coup in Tampa Bay about a week away, Mr. Waddington asked me about my injury. I told him that the club had told me I’d have to live with it through the Summer because there was no surgery that could fix it.

The following day Tony had arranged an appointment down in Solihull, Birmingham, with someone who he’d spoken to about it. You must be wondering now who this bloke Waddington was; A Rainmaker who floods pitches and now a man who pulls out surgeon who can fix unfixable shoulders. I went down with my girlfriend Laurel as driving was a no-no for me and she witnessed this big Greek bloke walk in, a Dr Polizeides, and ask me how I did it. I explained in simple terms as I did to our club doctor, a gynecologist – yeah, one of those doctors that examine female problems down below – and Polizeides walked behind me and gave me a bear hug that had me screaming. “Okay Alan, here’s the deal (his breath wreaking of that stuff Dave Sexton didn’t like and Mr. Waddington did), I can operate one of six ways,” which was quite different from being told by the club it was inoperable. This was music to my ears but also very confusing as I was still holding the pain back from his hug thinking ‘Good job I don’t go drinking with you Polly?’ I was in and out of Solihull hospital in three days and on that jet plane to Florida with the boys, although I didn’t play, I left England with my arm in a sling and within three days my mate and goalkeeper, Peter Fox, was sitting at the bar in the Proud Lion with it on telling customers of how he brave he was. You know those Yanks can be so gullible?

Foxy was now the hero in the Proud Lion and he deserved it because he was not only a brilliant keeper and lad but as good an actor you’ll see and I’ve just spoken about Di Nero, Pacino and Pecci. The gist of the story in our playing days is take no notice of any of the club doctors, especially if you had the Stoke City one because you’d go into see him with a potential broken leg and come out with a very sore crotch. …

Alan