For the second FwB I’m returning closer to home. no need to have a loose appreciation of politics and renagade German left-backs either. but I will be heading back in time, courtesy of my dad’s fine knowledge of (what many might see as the halycon days of British football) 60s/70s lower-tier football.
For a career spanning (thanks wikipedia/birminghamcity-mad.co.uk) roughly 600 games and 18 years, Trevor Hockey (winger turned midfield battleman) had all the tough-tackling characteristics, good looks, and (most importantly), beard-growing ability that Robbie Savage wished he could have.
So here-in we have a player close to my heart. not only did he play over 200 times for Birmingham City, where he was dubbed the ‘Beatle of Brum’ for his stylish Beatles-esque haircut, and also for his off-the-pitch self-confidence and fan rapport. But, for the fact he was a Yorkshire-boy born and bred.
Starting out at Bradford City, and, following a then customary stint over the Atlantic towards the end of his nomadic career, he returned to his birthplace, Keighley, and subsequently devoted his efforts to both non-league football, and youth coaching camps.
But what about his footballing talents? well, maybe I can liken him to a Lee Carsley figure. does (or did) the job. no hassle. but is absolutely essential to the team. that was Hockey. he let mercurial players such as Tony Currie blossom, doing the dirty work so others could claim all the headlines.
Maybe that’s why his beard means so much. Possibly without it no-one would have remembered him. his happy-go-lucky attitude, his love of football, his style, yeah, yeah, all great. but with that beard Hockey oozed midfield controller, screamed outsider, and most notably allowed him cult status amongst people like me.
The fact that Trevor isn’t around today, having suffered a heart attack in 1987 aged just 43, makes me wonder just how he might have viewed the modern-day footballer; mostly beardless, and mostly passionless for the game.