Cod Almighty | Article
6 August 2007
When I was at Hereford School in the late 1980s I had three ambitions: one, to go out with Charlotte Upton; two, to play for the school football team; three, to play for Town.
Needless to say, due to chronic acne, massive glasses and a shit left foot, my ambitions were thwarted. Danny North, however – a fellow Hereford old boy – has no such worries. Obviously having clear skin and good eyesight are two quirks of nature but nobody can suggest that he hasn't got the potential to be a very fine footballer indeed. At the start of last season he was on the fringes of the first team, happy to be a squad player and have the occasional substitute experience. By the end of it, he was a hat-trick-scoring regular with a mean haircut to go with it.
My own sightings of North had been hazy, automatically warming to him because of his roots but not really expecting that much from him. Then came Mansfield away. North replaced Paterson with 10 minutes left, making a genuine run at a defender and twisting him inside-out before an unerring finish into the bottom corner. An excellent striker's goal. As the season petered out to its safe conclusion, North scored four more to finish on six for the season in twelve starts. Indeed, when Danny scores, Town win – a record we would all like to see continue.
The question marks are obviously there. Is he prolific enough? Is he strong enough? But more importantly, is he aware? Too often last season Danny made the wrong decision by either snatching at chances or not playing in better-placed teammates. Hopefully, and there were signs of this happening, Buckley will get hold of him and mould him into the striker he wants him to be, maybe not scoring 20 a season but being a pivotal cog in the Passing and Movement Machine. North definitely needs support on the pitch at a crucial stage of his career.
But you know what? In these multi-billion football days, when players play for money at whichever club is stupid enough to pay them, when clubs charge 50 quid a ticket even though they get 30 million from TV, when just three years ago Nicky Law ruined this club with the likes of Lawrence and Warhurst, it is just refreshing to see a local lad play for his local team, trying his best because it is in his heart. And no, he might not score in every game, and yes, sometimes he will look lethargic, but give me that ahead of overpriced mercenaries any day of the season.
Good luck Danny, from one Herefordian to another. As the school motto says: "Knock 'em fucking dead, blue."