|So Farewell Kieron Dyer|
written by TimS Friday, 18th Jan 2013 08:53
Down in Devon, it has been as cold as East Anglia without the snow and a recent Tuesday night saw me without any electric in my flat. Much against every mental and physical sinew in my body, I am forced to go to the local supermarket to seek the much needed ‘leccy.’ I have just come back from the local gym after some early stage charity run training.
Listening to music and dressing like today’s Town player in training has helped me to train and made me believe that I can do this run. The dress is important. Looking good is critical. Who has not bought an item from Town’s bench wear range, worn it, and tried to play sport in it with the feeling that you are a Town player in all but name?
The garb is certainly doing the job for me and my ego, but there are not many people wearing those strikingly blue clothes in Exeter. The supermarket assistant is surprised when I turn up with the key to get some power back in to my life.
He wants to engage in a bit of Town chat. I know that he is wanting to be friendly, and usually I would not mind about chatting, but I am hungry, tired, sweating, feeling a bit self- conscious in my ‘benchwear jacket’, and desperately needing some electricity.
I also take issue with his questioning, which makes me feel like some sort of aboriginal nomad, with Ipswich some long lost village in the sweaty Australian outback. I just want my power, so I can cook some tea! Talk about the decline and fall (and rise?) of Town is not what I want to do. However, we get on to talking about Town’s most memorable players and from nowhere the barb came: “Kieron Dyer; a bit s*** really isn’t he.”
OK, Dyer has left QPR this month, with no real idea where he wants to go next, but I am a bit shocked by this insult from nowhere. I look a bit shocked in a very hurt sort of way. The assistant moves behind the till for cover if he needs it. Indignantly, I gasp that I saw Dyer in his younger and more exciting days. In a similar way to watching Darren Bent, I am sure that us as Town fans saw Dyer at the peak of his game.
Will Dyer ever be remembered for those early days before the curses of Premiership excess and injury struck? Unlikely. A quick Google Image search under the name ‘Kieron Dyer’ shows a range of squad photos, the grapple with Lee Bowyer at Newcastle in 2005 and a sad short of Dyer at Town part deux, with his head in a hand trudging of the pitch looking injured again. It should not be like this.
Apart from wearing replica kit, you can try to be your football idol by feeding your football dreams through the player on the pitch. If he is a local lad, it is even better. I have eaten in a Whitton curry house where he has eaten in Ipswich, but Dyer is just over a year older than me. It was an obvious choice to watch him more closely than the other older members of the squad.
Back in the dark ages of the middle to late 1990s, Town were regrouping after the disastrous 1994/95 season. It was not the case of effortless strolls to play off heart break every year. I can remember miserably dour nights against teams like Crewe and Grimsby with very little to shout about other than the skills of Kieron Dyer. With an assurance beyond his years, there was a massive hope that Dyer could succeed with Town into the Premiership.
When he threw his shirt into the North Stand, I had the first sensation in football of someone wanting to leave the club. When he did move to Newcastle, it did feel like an end of a particular era. That summer saw me flipping burgers for the allusive student dollar at a local tourist attraction. I was sharing my summer with a Newcastle fan. He was excited about the signing waxing lyrically about how Ruud Gullit was going to create a new dawn on Tyneside.
The sun set soon after on those dreams. Like everything in football, time moves on and people forget, but I could never quite forget about seeing the first person of my age group actually making it on to the pitch and play in a meaningful game rather than in the school yard. For those early years, Dyer was anything other than just “a bit S***”.
There were many players who were possibly met that description. The supermarket assistant did not mention those players but still had an impressive knowledge of Town which did not reflect his child like appearance. I found myself mentioning names such as Mark Venus and Mauricio Taricco for the first time in 10 years, and for a moment, I had forgotten that I had not eaten a bean, I had not washed and was probably stinking the shop out with body odour and sporting dreams. Then a woman came up to the counter, with a bottle of wine and a frosty glare which said to me that I needed to leave the shop now.
I was back out in the cold and dark Devon night, safe in the knowledge that I had managed to convince someone that Dyer had not been a “bit s***” throughout his career. However, I cannot help but think that Dyer will be known as part of a group of footballers who never quite reached their potential despite some dramatic early promise.
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