I was idly thinking about the arrival of Dennis Wise at Leeds United this morning. I’ve covered Leeds’ woes on here before and, I have to confess, chuckled quietly to myself at every stuffing they’ve taken this season, and it’s a sign of how far they’ve come that their newest manager has arrived at Elland Road from the powerhouse that is Swindon Town. I don’t much like Wise – for all his (much self-cultivated, at least later in his career) “cheeky chappy” image, he was a thug of a footballer, and I associate him more with beating seven bells out of a taxi driver several years back than anything he ever actually ever did on the pitch. Now we find out that he was one of Ken Bates’ best pals at Chelsea, and that more or less completes the image. Given the lengthy amount of time at Chelsea, though, I couldn’t wait for his first press conference, hoping that he would say, “it’s always been my dream to manage Leeds”, or words to that effect. He didn’t sadly, but that phrase set me to thinking about dreams and football. Not even Ashley Cole was stupid enough to say, “it’s always been my dream to play for Chelsea”, and it’s a phrase that appears to be falling out of fashion. This is a shame, because there’s nothing that shows up the mass hypocrisy of the majority of professional footballers like that phrase.
What about the rest of us, though? Do we dream about football? And if we do, what does it form does it take? From my own personal experience, I’d have to say that I don’t dream about football very much. At least, not as much as I perhaps should do, considering the amount of time that I spend at work every day pondering it. I can only remember two dreams about football that I’ve ever had. As with most of my dreams (and, as I understand it, different people do have different types of dreams), they were both very, very loosely grounded in reality, but were still utterly unlike anything that could or would ever happen. In the first, I was charged with the complete redevelopment of Clarence Park. My design was idiosyncratic, to say the least. It was identical to a bigger version of the old Court One at Wimbledon, except with an astroturf pitch, and illuminous orange plastic tip-up seats. The last thing I remember about the dream was sitting behind the goal for the opening match at the new stadium, and there were only about twenty or thirty other people in the place apart from me. In the second, St Albans were playing Enfield in an important cup match, and the ground was packed, but from the kick-off, there were rolling substitutes from the crowd, who got changed on the sidelines and went on for a couple of minutes before coming off again. I forget the score, but we murdered them. There was one other small detail that I remember. When the ball was kicked out of the ground, it was replaced with a tennis ball.
I’m not a big fan of dream analysis (unless it’s to be carried out by Alan Hansen), so I’ll thank you lot all to not carry out your Sigmund Freud skills here. I’m not sure that I can read too much into either of the above dreams, by any standards. I’ll say one thing, though. Never believe anyone that says, “oh yeah, I dreamt last night that I scored the winning goal for Liverpool in the Cup Final”. If yours are anything like mine, they’re never quite that straightforward.
Coming up: Tomorrow – The ten best “other” Roy Of The Rovers comic strips. Trust me: it’s worth getting excited about.