Do I look like Mervyn Day? or………

5 09 2013

……….. how I learnt to grow old gracefully.

Please forgive the self-absorbed tone of this post but you’ll have to forgive me, today is my birthday.

Yes today is the day I turned 37. Mervyn Day was 37 when this picture was taken;


(Can you guess where I found the picture?).

If I hadn’t been leafing through some old programmes a few weeks ago this almost pointless milestone wouldn’t have troubled my attention too much, it was the programme for the 1992 Charity Shield set me off.

I was having a pleasant couple of minutes reminiscing about my second trip to the old Wembley until I came across the picture of Leeds United’ reserve goalkeeper, Mervyn Day.

As soon as I saw him the lovely memories of my terrible view, 3rd row from the front, and bottles of coke that cost £2 in 1992 money, that’s probably £5 now, were replaced by the thought “Jesus, I hope I don’t look that old!!!” and a mental shudder.

I was taken aback by these negativities. When I look in the mirror I’m not confronted by a reflection that looks old and I certainly don’t feel “old”, even if my knees are a little sore.

The bright possibilities that felt within reach when I was 21 are now securely confined to depressive bi-monthly episodes of “What If…….” speculation so you could say that I’m comfortable with the inevitable passage of time, well it’s not as if I haven’t done anything with my life.

Anyway who wants to be young these days? Who wants to swan around as if they invented swanning around? Who wants to feel compelled in to using “The Banter”? Who wants to take advantage of Llandudno’s “weirdos” in a bid to become world-famous via you tube? So  yeah young people, up yours, you’re so bloody irritating.

Having said all that, why did I shudder at the thought of reaching 37? Logically speaking a 37 year old person cannot feel old when they’re having a conversation with someone that’s 45, 57 or 78. After a second glance Mervyn doesn’t actually look that “old”, it’s his hairstyle that causes the problem, it doesn’t do him any favours.

I blame bloody football and it’s perception-altering ways for making me regard turning 37 as an “issue”. But this is bloody football for you, it etches links between my sort of age and “decrepitude” simply because most footballers have retired by the time they’ve reached my sort of age. I curse football for making the idea that it’s acceptable to class men over 30 as “old”.

“Making me feel old” is another thing I can add to football’s charge sheet.



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