A number of readers have since queried if similar research has been conducted with regard to club footballers.
By a great coincidence, the findings of a detailed analysis of our club footballers has just been completed, and some of the results are published in this week’s column.
Physio’s Friend: Four words can sum up the playing career of a typical physio’s friend and they are: ‘lame for every game’. Pulled hamstrings, severed ligaments, sore groins, you name it, and he has had it.
Physiotherapists dream about getting one of these players on their client list. He is the ideal customer. Once a physio’s friend has signed up, all financial worries can be forgotten. With a guaranteed two trips a week, for injuries, either real or imagined, the sick one will pay bills, mortgages and put children through university.
The Male Model: It’s easy to spot the male model at training sessions. He’s the player wearing the Cork jersey on Monday, Meath on Wednesday and Dublin on Friday. Not only will he have the jersey, he’ll also have the accompanying shorts and socks.
Male Models normally sport a healthy tan for about six months of the year. He is the one player in the changing room guaranteed to bring hair gel, shampoo and deodorant. After his liberal application of deodorant, he can be difficult to see as he will be enveloped in a cloud of sweet smelling mist.
The Male Model despises the fact that he must share his toiletries every week with some spongers. However, he realises it is a necessary evil if he is to leave the changing room looking and smelling his very best.
County Star (Club Hero): He is the heartbeat of the team. This man sends himself to sleep at night by counting O’Neill’s footballs floating over a crossbar. Despite huge commitments to the county panel, he will be a regular attender at club training sessions.
The Club Hero is highly valued, primarily for his talent, but also for the example he provides other players. Club heroes watch what they eat, go easy on the drink and refrain from cigarettes. If they have one weakness, it’s women. For some misguided reason they are under the illusion that women are not detrimental to your health.
County Star (The Invisible Man): This other type of county footballer enjoys a love/hate, though mostly hate, relationship with his club’s supporters. They love him when he turns up for matches because he can be the difference between winning and losing a match. They hate him because they think he is a big headed poser, who seeks only personal glory through his county team, while abandoning the very club that taught him how to play the game.
Hard Ground Specialist: Just as there are race horses that cannot cope with soft ground, so there are footballers who feel ill-suited to early season training. Hard ground specialists consider the dedicated winter trainers to be mere point-to-pointers, whereas they are the genuine flat-race thoroughbred. With the recent good weather, they will have started to appear at training sessions throughout the country in their droves.
The Schoolboy: The schoolboy has only one thing in his head: football. Carrying absolutely no weight, the schoolboy runs just for the fun of it. Older players in the team are jealous of schoolboys as they represent their lost youth. Junior football is the traditional sacrificial ground where balding corner-backs regularly obliterate frisky teenagers for no apparent reason. Schoolboys are best advised to stay clear of these ageing veterans if they wish to stay clear of serious injury.
The Student: The transformation from schoolboy to student is as pronounced as that of the caterpillar to butterfly. Where once he was a schoolboy whose only ambition was to get on the senior team; the student discovers the pleasures of wine, woman and song. Football is put way down the agenda. For the first six months of his fresher year the student will have a silly looking smile permanently attached to his face. A pot belly will start to develop in his midriff.
He will give the excuse of either assignments or exams for his continued absence at training, yet there will be repeated sightings of him in The Bot, The Fly, The M Club, Lavery’s, Renshaws, Duke’s Hotel; you get the picture. The club hero will try to lecture the student about the error of his ways, but it is hopeless, he will be a lost soul for the next four years.
Due to space constraints these are all the players that can be described today. Other players which could not be included were: Team Talker, Psycho, Mr Excuses, and the Nearly Man.