Thursday, 28 April 2011

The ultimate Cult Hero from the 90's

The 90's have long gone, the likes of James, Giggs and Owen are on their last legs! The magical Euro 96 memories are starting to fade! Gazza's wonder goal against Scotland was 15 years ago now!

From Famous F.A Cup victories, to Double winning sides, sponsorship deals, the Adidas predator and of course United winning the treble, the 90's can only be looked back on with fondness for the true football fan. 

But one player from that generation seems to get a hell of a lot of stick from neutral fans.... even though he went on to play for England over 50 times!  that man is of course Des Walker! 

Walker was unlucky as a kid, after not making the grade @ Spurs, he was left to play sunday league for his local team but little did he know that a certain Brian Clough had been tipped off about his talents as a defender. During the early 80's Clough took Walker under his wing and advised the young kid every step of the way. In 84 Walker made his debut for Forest. It didn't take long for Desmond to nail down his place in the side. During his time @ Forest Walker played over 350 games winning 2 league cups. 

Desmond fact: During Italia 90 Walker started all of them seven  games in which England played... who out of the neutrals knew that?!

So why does Walker get so much stick from neutral fans? A short stint in Italian football might have something do with it, Sampdoria never saw the best of Walker as a result he was soon shipped back to England with big spending Sheffield Wednesday. During his 8 years @ Hillsborough Walker went on to play over 300 games and captain the team for many of them games. Walker only left Hillsborough due to the clubs financial state. 

Walker rarely missed matches but was often criticised for his inconsistent distribution. Defensively he was probably one of the best markers and timers of the tackle of all time, and incurred a remarkably low amount of bookings during the first 10 years of his career despite his often dispossessing opponents with some crunching sliding tackles from all directions. Despite not being the tallest centre-half, boy he knew how to leap! He was able to beat the tallest forwards in the air and his pace meant even the quickest and most skillful forwards very rarely got any change from him.

At the height of his career, Forest and Owls fans frequently chanted "You'll never beat Des Walker." This was turned into "You'll never meet Des Walker" as a private joke among journalists, commenting on Walker's refusal to talk to the press at this point.

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