Date:Saturday May 19 2007
Would one of the game`s greatest modern thinkers even entertain swapping Baby Bentley showroom for Colchester`s stable yard?
Speculation suggesting Teddy Sheringham is about to join Colchester United seems as likely as a UK victory in the Eurovision or Sir Bobby Robson re-entering the management madhouse at 74. Not impossible, sure, although a bet would be ill-advised.
Not because the former England and Manchester United striker, 41, is unwelcome. U`s fans would probably unbolt the Essex stable door willingly for an illustrious thoroughbred, one widely regarded as the best deep lying forward player to don the nation`s white since Paul Gascoine, or maybe even Bobby Charlton.
More that the suggested alternative destinations, in Charlton Athletic or US-based team Red Balls, seem a classier choice of residence than Britain`s oldest recorded town. If Charlton are Harrods on Sheringham`s A-Z, then Colchester United become the local Tesco by comparison.
Rumour has it that the Colchester-Sheringham connection came about because the West Ham man has a house in the not-so distant district of Witham.
Unfortunately, life`s Monopoly board does not decide footballing transfers. If it did, Alan Shearer, who apparently bought a flat in Colchester`s new development by North Station for £1 million, would be on United`s payroll, with Chelsea`s Jose Mourhino delivering the occasional McDonalds via Clacton.
Sheringham, though, could be an ideal signing. If, of course, he agrees to accept relative beans for wages and can actually still kick a ball. "I don`t know if I can still play," he admitted on Sky Sports earlier this spring, remaining unselected at Upton Park in seemingly an epoch, becoming seventh choice striker.
Even rational observes would say that Teddy, given his senior years, could only hope to make a meagre contribution to Colchester`s weekly scrum in the Championship, a division of frenetic pinball where reputations sink in a quicksand of rough-and-tumble.
Yet, a voice from within reasons that he could still do a job, even though the Hammers` No 8 is nearer pipe and slippers maturity than supreme training workouts and the daily grind.
The mind struggles to recall a talent, other than Wayne Rooney, who is so adept at finding that hole from which to tread a pinpoint pass which will connect two banks of players making up midfield and attacking lines.
For, while Sheringham has had the attribute of pace savagely revenged from his kitbag by time`s unforgiving hands, his trusted tactical brain remains sharp and intact.
It is on that basis you will find many still ready to argue that he should have travelled to last summer`s World Cup in Germany ahead of the callow Theo Walcott. Walcott, remember, had not yet kicked a ball at Premiership level, although was selected as the fourth best attacking operator from these isles.
Besides, for U`s fans that remember ex-England player Ray Crawford sinking a mighty Leeds side in the 1970/71 FA Cup with a fantastic brace, the arrival of another former national star would be a good omen.
Some swansong it was for Crawford, the only player in the then Fourth Division Colchester side who actually cost anything. He recently recalled: "I used to room with Bob and Ken Faddo. Ken used to do the shopping, Bobby did the cooking and I did the cleaning up - great days!"
There was a feeling, after the famous Cup victory, that manager at the time Dick Graham was on the verge of creating something big. The Leeds win followed a victory over the illustrious West Bromwich Albion at Wembley in a now defunct knockout competition called the Watney Cup.
The modern parallel here is that the reign of current manager Geraint Williams gets cast in an equally positive light. A cursory glance at Sheringham`s CV, however, prompts us to protest, perhaps rightly, that Colchester`s Layer Road auditorium is a stage too obscure for him to consider reciting the final verse of a very colourful professional life.
His style is more bang than whimper, which is why he signed off from national service by scoring a dramatic header at the age of 36 during the deciding World Cup qualifier for the 2002 Finals.
So the question soon becomes; why, when you have played against major powers of the world game for the best part of a decade, would you fancy the prospect of facing Scunthorpe on a cold Tuesday night?
Reading between the lines, the speculation surrounding Teddy Sheringham and Colchester United is a link forged by creative journalism: a token effort from those finger-tapping typists bashing away in the nation`s press offices.
Sheringham`s no show pony, despite begin well past his prime. If he did swagger from the showroom of West Ham`s Baby Bentley garage and into the relative shack of Colchester`s dilapidated stable yard, though, it would probably be with a slow canter, at best.
Date:Saturday May 19 2007
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