It’s late December, and I find myself at The Valley – watching the mighty Posh secure a 1-0 away win. I look around at a stadium, which I’ve not visited for about 15 years, saddened by the difference in crowd size since my last trip here – a Premier League game vs. Arsenal.
On the pitch, there is a clear leader in the fluorescent yellow of Peterborough – a mop-haired grunger going by the name of Michael Bostwick. He doesn’t fit the profile of the slicked back hair and tattooed from head to boot footballer we’ve become accustomed to in the 2010’s, but boy does he sound and act like one. Pointing, shouting, directing the defence, geeing up his team mates – he’s doing everything a captain should be doing.
And yet, I look down at his arms and see no band declaring him as chief of the team. I turn to my friend, and ask why Michael Bostwick is not captain. “He used to be captain but he said he couldn’t handle the pressure and gave it up to improve his on-pitch performance,” he said.
The current club captain is a 24-year-old central midfielder from Ireland with 68 PUFC appearances to his name. Compare that to Bostwick’s 211 – as part of a 500+ game career in the lower leagues of English football – and it makes you wonder:
Has MB completely bottled it? Is it an act of selflessness to help the team’s performance?
It’s not for me to decide, I’m just highlighting the debate of footballers being complete and utter fucking bottle jobs.
Take Antonio Valencia, for example. He takes the number 25 shirt at Manchester United – plays for a few seasons before changing his number to the famous #7. He lasted just one season before opting to go back to 25 due to the ‘pressure’.
Neymar was captain of Brazil for a few years, (I completely disagree with making players captain just because they’re your best player – that’s another argument for another time…) but after 2016’s home Olympics triumph, the former Santos talisman gave up the captaincy – citing that he’s completed his dream of leading his nation to a trophy. Does the U23 Olympic gold medal count?
It’s more than I’ve ever won, I suppose.
Captains (and converted Ecuadorian right backs) …stop bottling it!
By Jack Richards