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Shooting Stars: Alan Morton
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-05-05 13:38:23
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
2 - Alan Morton (Scotland & Rangers)
Jonathan Oldbuck | 08/09/1930
The teams are on the field. They are having a preliminary kick-about — all but the right half-back and the right back of the other side. Their two heads are together.
"You leave him to me," says the half-back. "I'll fix him. I know the little blighter. No, I've never played against him, but I've watched how he beats other half-backs, and I'll stop him."
"Wll, if you think so. I'll take the inside man," says the back. "All the same, I think I should keep close behind you in case"
"Not at all. You play your own game. You'll never see him in your road."
THE LITTLE BLIGHTER
The "little blighter" is Alan Morton.
They line up. The game begins. The half-back rubs his hands together, beams an anticipatory smile — he'll show 'em how little blighters and little Blue Devils are made to look common.
Alan sees the ball come sweetly to him — a pretty forward pass. He takes it in his stride — the stride that a man of six feet would envy; and he is only 5ft. 4 1/2in., that's all.
Away he goes, body beautifully balanced, arms working in rhythm with feet, mind alert for the coming encounter. The half-back positions himself. "I've got him," he gurgles to himself.
Then a right-foot feint. The Little Blue Devil is cutting inward. The half-back has his trap ready. It snaps and catches — nothing. For, almost simultaneously with the inward deception, Alan, with a swerve of the body, and a bend at the hips, is away on the cutside, the ball kept at an even revolution, and the stride never slackened.
"Curse it," growls the half-back "I thought it had him. I'll..."
"Come back — quick," comes a frantic voice from the rear — the back is calling.
But the Little Blue Devil goes on, takes a momentary glance at the goal, sees his centre-forward up, and, with the side of his sure left foot, sends the ball soaring over in a half-circle. The goalkeeper turns, bends, sticks his head in the back of the net and brings out the ball.
The half-time whistle goes. They are coming off. The back walks up to the half-back.
"I say, Bill, you are taking him the wrong way. You should..."
"Oh, shut up. I'm taking the inside man in the second half. He's your man, anyway."
A GOOGLIE FOOTBALLER
But what's the use of worrying. Big men, small men, wise ones and cute ones — all have tried it. Some have succeeded some of the time, but not all the time. Others have never come near fathiming his devilish cantrips. Plans have been laid. The same old story.
For how can you gasp a shadow? How can you grapple with a man who seems to be able to be in two places at once?
Alan Morton is the googlie footballer. He doesn't come in the direction he signified. It's a shame, and the Society for the Protection of Discomfited Defenders should protest.
A SOFT ANSWER
Once a burly back, after metaphorically tearing his hair, addressed him.
"If you come near me again I'll kill you."
And he of the 5ft. 4 1/2lin. looked up and interrogated in a gentle voice: "So? Where do you bury your dead?"
That killer went through it.
WAY OF THE SUPERMAN
Well, how is it? Let's see. A right and a left foot. The one as good as the other. A brain that keeps thinking, thinking, thinking.
"This one is a quick tackler. I'll have to give him the dummy, or he'll get me. That chap is slow — he'll wait for me. I can go past him on the outside and cut across" — and so on, on measuring his man, finding out the strong points and the weak ones in the opposition. That is the way with the super-men.
Add this. He loves the sight of a football. Lay it at his feet, and his toes tingle. He receives a mental exhilaration. All this is expressed in his action — swift, crisp, vivacious, sparkling.
What shall we call him? An institution. The Peter Pan of Football. If only he would be a real Peter and — never grow older!
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