I can’t remember having many idols as a teenager! I had crushes… *starts daydreaming*…
I can think of my favourite footballer at the time, who was Patrik Berger. I will defer to Wikipedia for the story of his career:
“Patrik Berger (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpatrɪk ˈbɛrɡr̩]; born 10 November 1973) is a retired Czech footballer. He started his career in his own country with Slavia Prague and spent a season in Germany playing for Borussia Dortmund. He moved to England in 1996, where he spent seven years with Liverpool, winning six trophies in his time there. This was followed by spells at Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Stoke City. He spent the last two years of his career back in his native Czech Republic playing for Sparta Prague.
Internationally, Berger played in two major tournaments for the Czech Republic. He played an important part in his nation’s Euro 1996 campaign, scoring in the final as the Czech Republic finished runners-up to Germany. He took a 17-month break from the national team between 1997 and 1998 after a dispute with manager Dušan Uhrin, returning to the setup following Uhrin’s departure from the post. His second and final major tournament was Euro 2000, but due to suspension and his country’s early exit, he only played one game. He retired from the national team in 2002 at the age of 28 with a total of 44 senior international caps and 18 goals.
Capable of occupying midfield and forward positions, Berger became noted for his powerful strikes, surging runs, and strong left foot. Berger was beset with injuries throughout his career and received specialist treatment in the United States. He retired on 6 January 2010 due to knee injuries.”
I remember him firstly from Euro ’96. There was a lot of publicity around his Czech teammate (well done for turning down the pun, Michael!) of the time, Karel Poborsky. Liverpool were heavily linked at the time with Poborsky in the press, but I was more than happy for Liverpool to sign Berger, who I preferred.
I remember before Berger’s debut there was a line in the press that he wasn’t just knocking on the door of the team but positively battering it down. He made is debut in an away game to Leicester City and it had been a particularly tedious first half. He came on at half time and the game lit up. He scored twice in a 3-0 win, and followed that up with another brace against Chelsea at Anfield in the next game.
I think I liked him so much because when I wasn’t playing in goal I played a lot like him. He was the first player I remember who was genuinely classified more as an attacker than a winger or a striker or a midfielder. He was a creative outlet capable of winning a game. But he was so one-footed it was nearly a joke. He really did only use his right foot for standing on.
My mother once bumped into him leaving Tesco. He *smiled* at her and was wearing a lovely cream Armani jumper apparently. She didn’t shut about it for weeks and her friends were jealous of her!
I’m gonna take this moment
And make it last forever
I’m gonna give my, heart away
And pray we’ll stay together
‘Cause you’re the one good reason
You’re the only girl, that I need
‘Cause you’re more beautiful then I have ever seen,
I’m gonna take this life and make it evergreen
Evergreen by Will Young (the first UK Pop Idol)