You’ll be aware from my wearying accented ramblings that the world’s game, through my eyes anyway, grows less beautiful by the day. Yet there are moments still where my sourpuss comments are rendered obsolete.
Like those moments when the wife comes back from the hairdressers with a fetching new style, or steps out in a dress that rolls back the years or produces a welcome new set of exquisite undies that renders you momentarily speechless to make you think, ‘yeah, the old girl’s still got it’. I guess this is why I continue to be enchanted by football.

One of the downsides of following my team, the ‘atters, is the role of surrogate or foster parent you assume amongst the other overwhelming negatives that inevitably entails from supporting a team forever in crisis. As soon as you become attached to a player, he leaves.

It is the nature of a selling club and fellow supporters of this type of team will surely empathise here. I have seen some fantastic footballers in the twenty or so years watching football at Kenilworth Road. Some of them even played for the home team.

To mention but a few, and among many others, there’s been Kingsley Black, Mark Pembridge, John Hartson, Kelvin Davis, Paul Telfer, Scott Oakes, Gary Doherty, Matthew Taylor, Curtis Davies and Leon Barnett (goodness, there’s nearly a whole team’s worth there…).

Yesterday occurred a real heartstrings tugging moment. It happened at the conclusion of yesterday’s FA Cup Final and Wigan Athletic’s sensational victory. As tradition dictates, the victorious captain having done the hard yards on the pitch and the emotional foot steps leading up to the bounty itself, then plucks the famous old trophy from the grip of the jammily ennobled sponsor or oblivious official before lifting it high above his head while shouting something, usually uplifting, raucous, obscene or all three into the North London air. The cheers of his team mates and supporters echo around Wembley while the millions of people around the world listening and watching, regardless of their allegiance, enviously allow themselves a smile and the goosebumps to prickle at that man’s sense of achievement and for fulfilling one of their childhood dreams.

Yesterday the man to follow in the footsteps of Billy Wright, Bobby Moore and Tony Adams was Emmerson Orlando Boyce. He too played for Luton Town.

I first saw Boycey play against Notts County towards the end of the Nineties at Meadow Lane. I was immediately won over by his athleticism, ability in the air and pace as he starred at right wing-back in a tedious nil-nil draw. We won’t have him for long or words to that effect I think I remarked to Cousin Tommy.

I was to be proved correct.

Although, mercifully we retained his services for a year or two more as Emmerson Boyce, was an integral part of our promotion winning team of 2001-02. His game developed significantly in that time too. Add tackling and reading of the game to his strengths and it was no surprise to see him move up the leagues to Crystal Palace. He joined Wigan two years later in 2006. Wigan had recently been promoted to the Premier League, I smiled at Boyce’s career progression and hoped for him a strong future.

Yesterday’s wonderful moment will be the pinnacle of this journeyman footballer’s career. His side, away from their glorious cup winning moment, find themselves looking down the barrel in terms of Premier League survival. Whatever happens, they’ll always have Wembley. Whatever happens, Boycey will always be a Hatter.
Congratulations Emmerson, I (along with, hopefully, several thousand other Luton fans as well) am very proud of you.

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