Tuesday, 6 November 2012

FOOTBALL LIFE

Great to see in the newsagents at the moment a brand new football magazine called FOOTBALL LIFE.

Stuart Pearce adorns the cover of the first ever issue of Football Life.

In these tough times it's a brave decision to produce a whole new magazine. And the good news is, it's a quality bit of work.
Fantastic design, in-depth articles and established writers all contribute to make a welcome difference to a tired genre.

But for me, the most interesting part of all this, is the person who started it all – KEN MONKOU.
An ex-player himself, he is one of football's rare good guys. Originally from Surinam, he grew up in the nation of Total Football: Holland. Moved to Chelsea and enjoyed a successful career in England with several clubs as a cultured defender. His post-football career involved opening a pancake restaurant in Holland and being an eloquent pundit on Dutch and English TV. He's also to be found turning out for the Chelsea Old Boys team, made up of ex-Chelsea players of varying ability!

Super Ken playing for Chelsea at Wembley in the 1990 ZDS Cup Final. © www.sporting-heroes.net

An older and wiser Ken, now playing for the Old Boys team! © www.chelseafc.com

And it's with this Chelsea connection that I have some very vivid memories of KEN MONKOU. Way back in the summer of 1989, I trooped along to Wimbledon's ramshackle old ground, Plough Lane, to try and see Chelsea's first game back in the First Division (no Premier League then!). With the away end full, I just went to the home end and paid at the turnstile, imagine trying to do that now at any top level game!
We then witnessed an immense display from Super Ken on his full debut for Chelsea. Adding a touch of glamour as one of Chelsea's first foreign players, he ended the season as their Player of the Year, he was that good.

Ten years later and the tables were turned, as he came to Chelsea in a League Cup tie as a Huddersfield Town player. I again witnessed a defensive masterclass from him. This time shackling the eager 17-year-old striker Mikael Forssell, who was literally half his age. Try as he might, he just couldn't get passed him, given a thorough footballing lesson from a hugely experienced defender. On both occasions, Ken won the game 1-0.

So because of those great memories and for being a beacon of hope for the game, I hope Ken Monkou's FOOTBALL LIFE is a total success.

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