14 May, 2008

Shine Your Boots Guv’nor

The position of boot boy is a hallowed tradition within professional football. It gives aspiring players a taste of the day-to-day life behind the glamour and helps them keep their feet on the ground. These days however, with Premier League debuts at increasingly younger ages, the natural order has been disrupted somewhat and many of these young stars skip the boot boy stage all together, instead being covered in Cristal and diamonds before they’re even old enough to drive. It makes me smile therefore that some clubs still pride themselves on maintaining this key formative stage, and furthermore, that some established stars still appreciate having their boots cleaned and their teas made. After the long slog of a season being essentially a grown-man’s bitch, one might expect to keep the player’s boots, or even have a jump on one of their girlfriends, but lucky James McPike at Birmingham got a Mercedes.

Having been assigned to French midfield talent Olivier Kapo, McPike was reportedly stunned when he was thrown the keys to the £30,000 run-about and told it was his to keep. His first thought was that Kapo was joking, or it was part of some cruel campaign of merc-ing from prime jokester Rio Ferdinand, explaining to the ex-Juventus man that he would struggle to afford the insurance for such an expensive car. So ever the gent, Kapo drove the incredulous trainee to his home, handed him the spare keys and log book, and then insisted on paying for a year's insurance. A club source told the Daily Fascist that McPike had initially asked Kapo for a pair of boots to mark the end of the season, and was obviously disappointed when Kapo said he’d taken them all home already. “He perked up considerably when he was tossed a set of keys,” the source glibly concluded.

Kapo is apparently on a £1.5m annual contract at the recently relegated Birmingham and is said to have just bought the Mercedes as a quick stop-gap when he arrived in Birmingham last year. He has added a Porsche and a Hummer to his fleet so decided to give McPike the Mercedes to avoid the questions that always come with controlled fires or staged robberies. Blues manager Alex McLeish said he learned of Kapo's generosity only when he saw James driving the Mercedes out of the training ground yesterday. “It was a magnificent gesture and one that's entirely in keeping with Kapo's character,” the Scot said. “He's been in Italy with Juventus, one of the biggest clubs in the world, but he clearly has not forgotten the time when he was an aspiring professional himself, hoping to go on to bigger and better things. McLeish joked: “As he was in such a generous mood, I asked him what he had done with the house he had left behind in Turin. Unfortunately, he smiled and said he wanted to keep hold of that.” Kudos to Kapo then for proving himself to be a nice guy in a world of selfish and conceited bastards.

No comments: