Virtuoso Winger, 23. For Sale….
Virtuoso winger, pin-up, aged 23. Good free-kick record, minor surgery needed. We`re talking a lonely-hearts summary of the world`s best footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, right? Wrong: drop that gaze to League One, because this advert is for Mark Yeates, stuck in Colchester`s colourful shop window.
RIP those Championship years, and the pulling power that went with them. They sit in a nostalgic box, labelled vintage 2006, `07, or `08, where Yeates` thunderbolt finishes would have also gone for good had he completed a move to Crystal Palace over the weekend.
Last summer`s £100,000 steal from Spurs is cursing an injured shoulder, cause of his failed medical, for preventing a swagger back across the capital, and into the Championship. Now, Colchester fans wait with baited breath over the fate of their biggest potential export since sharpshooter Jamie Cureton.
Larger clubs sneeze, the U`s catch a cold and this time because Palace pursue the hotshot left-sider for six months. Not that Colchester can afford to frame Yeates` flirtations father-a-filed as a mutinous betrayal that requires drastic action from within.
Fans suggesting the number eleven ought to rot in the reserve-team if he stays would presumably subscribe to the same brand of logic arguing that Geraint Williams turned from great gaffer to mad manager overnight.
Such statements ignore the fact that Colchester`s Irish cream was always destined to return to a higher plane via a side whose transfer policy is about as stable as a house of playing-cards in a sandstorm.
It has been thus since the days of Perry Groves in this corner of East Anglia, remember, where Lommana LuaLua and Greg Halford have also fallen off a prolific home-grown production line. Fine, so Yeates was schooled Tottenham`s white but he could qualify as an adopted son on honourable grounds for his role in the unlikely promotion of 2006. He`s highly commended, too, for his picture-book rockets against Preston and Blackpool in the term just ended.
Let`s not fall into the trap of saying that Yeates is irreplaceable, though, even if he was scorching blades of grass or writing headlines for fun, before a premature injury ended his season. The wing wizard will not be nearly as potent once his pace gives way to experience, forcing an engagement of his sometimes tactically-naïve brain ahead of a natural tendency that presently allows those unadulterated sprinting sprees.
This is not a case of playing out a moral dilemma of Mark`s mind, observing part the great off-stage action that turns pubs, bars and clubs blue with transfer chatter during close-season, while the raconteurs make hay on their holidays. There`s no point in humming The Clash hit Should I Stay or Should I Go either, in some form of blind hope; a failed medical shows Yeates had already decided to shed his blue and white stripes.
Off the treatment table, he probably took one look at the league table and made a choice. Thanks for the memories, Mark, would be an appropriate response to his pending departure, although the rejection may still hurt like an arrow-fired free-kick, scored with an ever-increasing frequency.
Claims that he didn`t practice playing with a dead-ball in training seem as likely to be true as Chelsea`s Michael Ballack maintaining that he never practices a penalty-kick. They still raise a smile.
Next Yeates will be saying his probable transfer was not scripted. The man the U`s faithful used to tease in his formative years about consuming too many pies is a moth being lured upwards towards brighter and more leading lights.
His response to that old jibe about food is that he could be about to make Colchester United fans eat their hearts out.