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Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-04-16 14:33:01
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If one were asked to name three of the greatest full-backs that ever graced the Association game, one would be compelled to include the late Nicholas J. Ross as one of the illustrious three. Walter Arnott of Queen's Park, Glasgow, would be my second selection and A.M. Walters, the old Charterhouse boy, the third. I don't profess to place them in order of merit. On his special days each man would be unapproachable. There are others who will go down to history as amongst the greatest of full-backs, who on certain occasions or during certain years quite equalled the prowess of my noble trio. John Forbes of the Vale of Leven and Blackburn Rovers, P.M Walters, brother of A.M. and his habitual partner in the Corinthian team, A.H. Harrison of Oxford University and the Corinthians, L.V. Lodge of Cambridge University and the Corinthians, "Nick" Smith of Glasgow Rangers and Dan Doyle of Glasgow Celtic — these men were all giants of the game, I and yet they hardly came into the category of my dauntless three.
Though Nick Ross was probably no better back than the other two, he was the man above all else who kicked the football that I would have on my side. No one, I take it, ever kicked quite so artistically as Walter Arnott; no man ever "placed" the ball so well to his forwards as the auburn-haired Scot. No one ever tackled quite so sturdily as A.M Walters; no man came off so victoriously in a strenuous challenge. Nick Ross could kick artistically - and otherwise; he could "place" the ball beautifully for his comrades; he could take care of himself in a charge; he rarely came second best out of a scrimmage, but it was not all nor any of these qualities that made him one in a million. Ross was probably the best full-back that ever lived, because he not only could do everything in perfection that a full-back ought to do, but because he had the faculty of winning matches. He possessed the indefinable something, that magic quality which, for lack of a better word, we call genius. I only know of two other footballers who have possessed the same quality in the same degree. These are Ernest Needham of Sheffield United and G.O. Smith of the Corinthians.
He seemed to see everything before it happened. He could tell if the rush of the opposing forwards spelt danger or was only a ruse. He possessed the instinct of knowing when a goal was about to be scored, and yet he was no magician! He could not tell whence came those inspired periods when he did everything right and could do no wrong. He was in the hurly-burly of the game, and whether it lasted moments or hours he was scarce tell. He owed little or nothing to superior physical gifts. He was neither very big, nor very strong, but he was very fast. As an athlete many a man surpassed him; as a footballer only a few have quite touched the same transcendent note. It was in instinct and intuition that he differed from most men.
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