Football Legend ‘sort-of’ remembered by those who didn’t know him

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Italy’s ‘Black Pearl’ played for Chelsea United for many years

Next Saturday, Harold Thursday will pay its own unique tribute to footballing legend Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, known to soccer fans worldwide simply as ‘Silva’, who died over the weekend.  Club Chairman, William ‘Supermack’ McKean explained “As soon as a few spectators arrive, there will be a ten minute rolling silence; except at the refreshment counter, which will be kept open as a mark of respect. We’ve got mince pies on two-for-one. Or three-for-two, if they’re still before the sell-by date.”

Harold’s footballing legend scored three goals in Thursday’s unforgettable 1974 under-14s Pepto-Bismol Cup run. McKean is well-placed to understand how being on the sporting stage as a youngster can affect the rest of a player’s life, although he chose to pursue a career in commerce, rather than professional sport.  Now principal security guard at Tesco Express,  McKean took time out of a cigarette-break  to reveal, for the first time, his personal link to the great man,

“My late uncle Jim once saw Silva play, in the 1966 World Cup semi-final, and always told us kids he was great” said a clearly emotional McKean “As luck would have it, he was tying up his shoelaces at the time Silva scored. But Jim was a short man, so he probably wouldn’t have seen much of the pitch, let alone the players.”

McKean said he wouldn’t be drawn on whether Silva had been ‘the greatest ever’ not to have played for Thursday. “There’s so many to choose from. George Best, or ‘Georgie’ as I used to call him, when discussing him in the Squirrel Lickers, was brilliant of course. He could dribble with the best of them and once stayed in Dunstable overnight after he lost his car keys, which is a nice local link. Johan Cruyff from Denmark  was one of the best I’ve ever seen live and in colour. But, even though I’ve only seen him in monochrome, for me, Silva, ‘the black pearl’ – can I still say that? – was the best by far.”

Modestly, McKean plays down local comparisons between himself and Silva. “We were playing at different times,  in different countries and in different circumstances. Who knows how things would’ve turned out if we’d met on the pitch? It’s for others to judge.”

“I had a poster of him on my bedroom wall for years, between Farrah Fawcett and a green Lamborghini Miura. Or it could have Pelé; which one played for Spain?”

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