The passing of the great Johan Cruyff has made me reflect on a time when this young W12 Boy was influenced and shaped in all things football by my local hero's Marsh and Bowles and from afar by Pele and then a European, a Dutchman called Cruyff.
The 1970's brought us limited TV footage of World Football but the 1974 World Cup in Germany it was all about Johan and the Orange Army - his Cruyff Turn turned Brazil on its head and every kid in the streets of Shepherds Bush ,and beyond, wanted to copy Johans skills. Geography lessons weren't the same Holland wasn't about Tulips,fingers in dykes and round cheeses it was all about Cruyff, Ajax of Amsterdam and all things Orange.
Teams I played for began passing the ball instead of the Charlie Hughes Lump - total football on pitch 24 of the Scrubs all down to Johan - unbelievable.
40 years on we have wall to wall football and kids learn the Ronaldo Chop and copy Messi on the pitch on a Saturday morning or more likely on an X Box without giving a thought to the huge influence Johan has had on the modern game not only as a player but also as a great coach.
RIP Johan and thank you.
Mick Geraghty - aka W12Boy. UEFA B Licence Coach. Life long QPR supporter and Grandad