So, what's happening with Wes Hoolahan then?
PUBLISHED: 11:00 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 August 2018
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Where is he?
WHERE IS WESLEY? Apologies for shouting, but I am ever so slightly concerned that among all the excitement of this week, what with the season starting on Saturday plus the surprise that was another footballing distraction over the summer – that Mr Wesley Cantona Hoolahan has been forgotten.
It will be the first time since 2008 that his name won’t figure – because he’s gone. Forever.
Thing is, the name Hoolahan has hardly featured in the rumour mill throughout the summer. Wigan were said to be interested, while a few websites did pin him down to the whole of Australia and the length and breadth of the United States.
But as yet, Wes is a bit of a mystery – as he probably was during the wonderful decade in the yellow and green.
Those who have followed Wes’s career will have come across the name of the Irish journalist Eamon Dunphy, who worshipped the very ground the wee man’s twinkle toes trod. Dunphy’s broadcasting career with RTE has come to an end – some believe it coincided with Hoolahan’s exit as a Republic of Ireland player, but it is merely coincidence: the love affair will go on.
And while it does, City fans will be looking for a new superhero. Every fan likes one: the player who can sprout wings and perform wonders with his feet while maintaining a charismatic spell over them all.
Grant Holt was one, fulfilling the qualifications for the status by being a success on the pitch, almost without fail, during his Norwich days, while having an aura that was difficult to describe – although I suppose that is the very magic of an aura.
But there was SOMETHING about Grant Holt that made people, well, err, adore him.
It doesn’t happen all the time but a quick glance down memory lane suggests City have had a long line of these ‘special’ players.
How could you go wrong with Duncan Forbes, Graham Paddon, Martin Peters, Kevin Keelan, Ian Crook, Bryan Gunn, Iwan Roberts, Robert Fleck et al? There are a lot more... but the numbers seem to dwindle the closer we get to 2018.
It is now difficult to pin down these guys – the aura and the ability levels have to be compatible. If not you end up with cult figures – and they are not always cult by dint of their amazing footballing skills. Gary Doherty wasn’t the best footballer in the world but he was very popular.
In the current squad, two players stand out – Timm Klose and Ivo Pinto. Klose because he looks like a bit of a geezer, in the way David Luiz is. Pinto, because he tweets some nice stuff. Football-wise, Klose is a half-decent player – not good enough for special treatment though – while Pinto is in danger of losing his first team place along with his captain’s armband. Because he’s ok, that’s all.
Elsewhere in the team we perhaps have to wait and see: I liked the look of Teemu Pukki – give him a little while for his character to come through, then we can decide. Jordan Rhodes is a definite candidate.
First off, his goals: he can score, we know that, and if City can find the magic formula (the bit between supplier and finisher being spot on) then they could be in the money.
Off the field (for the purposes of this little experiment) is as important - and Rhodes has a little bit of previous.
While at Middlesbrough a young fan wrote to him.
Rhodes moved on to Sheffield Wednesday soon after, but didn’t forget the letter – so he replied, handwritten (which is virtually unknown to anyone under the age of 40 nowadays) – and a very nice reply it was too.
Will Jordan Rhodes take over the mantle of Mr Nice Guy/Mr Popular/Mr Charisma/Mr The Club Revolves Around You?
We need one, just in case... if the football is as, well, dull as it was last season there will be nothing left to get excited about. A sort of no Wesley, no party thing – and we can’t have that.