Johnny Cantor: Heroes and villains – there’s sure to be a fair few of each next season

Solly March scores what turned out to be the winner against Wigan on Easter Monday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Solly March scores what turned out to be the winner against Wigan on Easter Monday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

I have opened up my soul a few times in this column about my guilty pleasure of watching Countryfile. Here I go again. Lovejoy. Happy go lucky, cheeky chappy, doing dodgy deals and having jolly japes in the antiques world in continual sunshine.

I might have been excused that when I watched it as a relative youngster, there weren’t as many programmes to watch! Nowadays of course in multi-channel homes you have hundreds of channels and thousands of programmes.

Does anyone watch them? I’ve no idea but with the growth of digital and social media, it can’t be many. The summer schedules are notoriously thin on decent programming, except sport, so occasionally I find myself whizzing up and down the EPG to see what old classic is on.

Yes, Ian McShane can be seen in Lovejoy at all times of the day but to my surprise this weekend I stared, not once but twice, when I saw the classic 1979 film Yesterday’s Hero.

Not seen it? I doubt it. However, Ian McShane himself is well cast on this occasion as the rogue fallen footballing hero with a drink problem. I have to say Adam Faith and Paul Nicholas are wonderful too as the tormented manager and the ostentatious singing chairman of ‘The Saints’.

I won’t spoil the story, but, yes, you can probably guess what happens in the FA Cup Final against Leicester Forest!

So what am I going on about you are probably thinking. Well, all I would say is that it was a film that I remember so distinctly as a youngster immersing myself in the world of football and dreaming myself of scoring the winner at Wembley.

Of course nowadays the renaissance of a fallen hero is less common, especially at the top level but we still have heroes and still have stories that capture the imagination and steal the headlines.

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Solly March certainly offered his own chapter as the local lad who scored the goal that helped send the Seagulls to the Premier League on that Bank Holiday Monday.

As the players at all clubs return to the hard graft and sweat of pre-season training, they are posting on social media mostly with positive messages.

I know some don’t necessarily enjoy it but for those few weeks before their Premier League debut, they will still harbour thoughts and dreams of a special moment, a special goal or a special win.

I doubt very much that Rod Turner, the ageing old soak who cleans up his act to bring glory to his club and help underprivileged kids at weekends, would come to mind but I’m sure they have their own heroes and imagine their own glory.

I guess we shouldn’t really pour scorn on it. Visualisation is now even a key method used by elite athletes.

Heroes and villains. Sport has, and always will, have them. Wimbledon. Tour de France. The Lions against the All Blacks. And that is just this week. No one knows who will be the heroes and villains next season but one thing is for sure, there will be a fair few of each.

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