Cod Almighty | Article
1 July 2004
Ooooh... Terry Fleming's magic, he looks like Errol Flynn,
There's nothing we like better than to see him on the wing.
He dances down the left side, he flies down the right,
We still love you Terry, though you're a bag of shite.
He could have been the hero of a Shakespearean tragedy. He could have been one of those flawed but lovable characters that the writers of Eastenders are so keen on. He's ended up being a lower-division midfielder with a chequered history and a long throw.
Cambridge fans knew all about Terry Fleming's chequers and, significantly, they still cared enough to make up that song about them. We never bothered doing that with Tony Gallimore. Two minutes on Ooo Terry Fleming ("official website of the Terrytorial Army") should give ample illustration that the player is sure to be remembered by Town fans a few years down the line as either cult hero or spectacular flop. His chances of attaining official Pontoon cult status are certain to be impaired by the desperately unfortunate accident that he is English, though he did once turn down the chance to play international football for St Lucia. Will that do?
Let's get through some of that lurid detail then. While a Lincoln City player, Fleming once avoided a second yellow card by giving the referee the name of a teammate instead of his own, succeeding only in greatly lengthening the suspension that finally ensued when the FA caught up with him. Oh, and there was just the one arrest – on suspicion of assault. Becoming team captain with the Imps seemed to have set him back on the straight and narrow, but in December 2003 he was suspended by Cambridge for a "breach of club discipline", upon the nature of which the libel laws of the land scandalously preclude me from speculating. Only when Herve Renard took over as Us boss did Tel make it back into the first team, but the player is clearly not one to feel burdened by debts of gratitude and arrived at Blundell Park as the direct result of a subsequent bust-up with the manager who had arguably saved his career.
You're getting the idea. But Fleming could have a lot to offer GTFC, as a cracking goal and excellent all-round performance in the recent friendly at Brigg seemed to show: "firm tackling, intelligent moving and neat passing",wrote Tony Butcher. At the time of writing he and Thomas Pinault have edged ahead of Stacy Coldicott in the reckoning to line up at the centre of Mr Slade's crazy formation, and Fleming's workrate could complement the Frenchman's creativity to great effect.
But for now it's all ifs and maybes, and Tel Boy could become the new Bobby Cumming or the latest in a long line of Des Hamiltons. In this respect, with Town fans less willing to predict the season ahead than at any time for a generation, he is a living metaphor for his team.