I was going to talk about the first "Not The
Advertiser" Column this week being not about
football, giving that our game last weekend was
called off due to Bradford being above the
Arctic Circle, it seems. I could also have made
a fuss about them not calling in a local ref for
a pitch inspection, given the weather forecast,
so Walsall fans wouldn't have already set out -
some hope for consideration in this day and age.
Still, it has, at least given Dean Keates an
opportunity to work with the team to try and
tighten up a defence that has been too leaky of
late and a way to get his most talented
attackers to blend together.
But no. Instead I feel I have to reflect on
today's sad news of the untimely death, at the
age of a mere 61, of Ray Wilkins.
I used to get into arguments in the eighties
when backing my belief that he had to be in the
England side, with people who came out with the
old line about his play of always passing
sideways - "crab football".
Although I couldn't have known it at the time,
it was the way Wilkins played the game, the
realisation that you needed to take care of the
ball, to receive and recycle and keep the ball
moving, that I wanted to see out on the pitch.
What has come to pass now, though - and it has
been something that has been pointed out by
several people making tributes today - is that
Wilkins was ahead of his time. Put him in the
midfield of one of the teams that plays that way
today, such as Manchester City, then I think he
would be recognised for the great talent he
Rest in peace, Ray.