Let’s hope to goodness Sheffield Wednesday wished Chris Kirkland an all-singing all-dancing happy 33rd birthday earlier this month. Heaven forbid the impact on his new contract talks if they didn’t.
I jest, of course. Solid citizen Kirkland will be joining the vast majority of professional footballers in wincing from the shame inflicted on them by Yaya Toure. If you haven’t heard, Toure might leave champions Manchester City – because his agent claims the club failed effectively to put enough candles on his birthday cake.
As exit strategies go, this is beyond a joke. It’s preposterous and pathetic. But the best response to such conduct is to poke fun at it and the nation has had a right good laugh. I was going to say at Toure’s expense – but how do you say that about a man who earns, what, £200,000 a week?
He will have the last laugh, of course. And yet whenever we yearn in these parts for those long-lost days of the Premier League, let’s remember the price that might have to be paid. It could be a birthday gift for one of your star players on top of your season ticket “mortgage” – or risk a king-sized strop.
Thankfully, I can’t see the good folk of this city putting up with that sort of behaviour. But then I’d have said the same about Manchester. Hopefully they’ll say good riddance.
To happier matters. This column was otherwise preoccupied by runs in the sun at Abbeydale Park on Monday at the time of another bright unveiling a few miles to the south.
While Yorkshire County Cricket Club were six-hitting to a thrilling T20 warm-up victory on their return to the Sheffield ground they last used nearly two decades ago, the world’s oldest football club was anointing a new manager.
And if there has ever been a more richly qualified boss in their long history than Mick Wadsworth then I’d be amazed. Congratulations to Sheffield FC on attracting a man who, when I last interviewed him in 2000, was a Premier League coach. This was for Radio 5 Live after a Newcastle home game when Mick was delegated to stonewall questions about his boss, Sir Bobby Robson, being wanted back by England.
Wadsworth had worked for Robson for the national team. Before and since he has served a host of clubs at all levels, most recently Sheffield United.
Hopefully he will be spared any of the team funding issues that afflicted Club last season. A name and expertise can only go so far – but what a coup!
And I can’t help wondering what down-to-earth Barnsley-born Mick will be making of the Yaya yarn. Except that I’d better not. I doubt it would be in any way printable!