Monday, September 20, 2004

Sporting Heroes: Trevor Senior

Sporting Heroes

No.3: Trevor Senior, Reading FC

Curly-haired, gap-toothed, sounded like he'd fallen off the back of a tractor. He was about nineteen feet tall and scored hatfuls of goals as a result, all of them headers. Actually, that's a bit of an insult to El Trel's footballing skills, I clearly remember one goal, scored on a freezing cold February night at home to Huddersfield, where a Kevin Bremner shot went in off his arse and he had the front to claim it for himself. He slotted perfectly into Reading's hit-and-hope style of football - belt it up the field and hope Trevor got his head on the thing. The ball could go anywhere, and given the law of averages, some of the time it went in the goal. A God.

Trev and I finally bonded one May afternoon at Portman Road, Ipswich. Ninety-two minutes gone, one-nill down and Ipswich cruising towards the (then) first division. Uphe pops, unmarked at the back post to nod in a free kick and suddenly it's 1-1, the game's over and the place goes mad. That dropped point meansanother year in division two for Ipswich, and it's all Reading's fault. The resulting riot netted me an entire evening's beer money in loose change and the enraged home fans took it out on the visiting support. It was also El Trel's last game in a Reading shirt - for a bit.

Sold off to Watford in the close-season, in a thinly veiled balance-the-booksdeal, he flopped badly in the top flight, and Reading, drafting in the quadraplegic talents of Colin Gordon from Wimbledon, got relegated. A Wimbledon supporting friend, on hearing that Reading had bought Gordon told me: "BWA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!" for an entire evening.

But like the prodigal son, Trel came back, tail firmly between his legs, and was promply forgiven by the masses on the South Bank, where he saw out his final days as a player goalhanging and nodding home hopeful punts up the field. People call it gamesmanship, but it was an artform of which there are too few decent practioners these days. And none of them had Tervor's stunning good looks, either.

So where is he now? Running a pub, coaching some team in Qatar? He's doing something with tractors, obviously. (Actually he's the manager of Bridgwater Town, "Les Phillips Cup Winners 2002/3", but I bet we gets to drive the team tractor.)

Elsewhere: Brian Clough's dead. A great man. Mad as a fish.

No comments: