Craig Midgley of Manly United is one of the striking breed of whom it can be said is possibly ?slightly potty? in the nicest possible way.
In fact, the 32-year old is a very nice lad who hails from Bradford (Bratfud) in the English county of Yorkshire and displays a ready wit and disarming charm with mention from his team mates of tales recalled and much mirth being had.
His personality is never in question but the lad has a footballing past that many in Australia covet.
After an apprenticeship at his home town club, Midgley commanded a first team spot for a further four seasons before a 20-thousand pound ($50,000) transfer to Hartlepools United where he spent another four seasons.
From the ?monkey hangers? (reference to an historical incident in the town?s past that you may look up for an interesting story during the Napoleonic Wars), it was off to Halifax Town for 5-years and then a season with Farsley Celtic, with whom he won promotion.
A good honest professional, Craig represented Hailfax in a promotion Play Off Final at Leicester City?s ground and twice in the semi-finals with Hartlepools but, unfortunately, none of those games were won but it shows the high standard this lad achieved and epitomises what being a ?pro? is all about.
?You have to enjoy the game and the environment surrounding it,? he says.
?The game is growing rapidly in Australia and if you want to make it you just have to believe and enjoy it because the world-eye is watching and if you are good enough, you will be spotted.?
If you really want to get Midgley going, ask him about the players he looked up to as a kid and it?s an impressive line-up; Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Craig Johnston (he is a Liverpool fan after all!), Alan Shearer and Ian Wright make the list and all are strikers. The odd one out is Bruce Grobbelaar, Liverpool?s former goalkeeper but you can?t argue he wasn?t one of the best of his generation.
Another couple on the list would be the Peter?s ? Beagrie and Beardsley ? both of whom Craig played with and learnt a great deal from in his younger days.
Working as the Youth Development Officer for Manly United and playing up front on weekends, Midgley says this about the Telechoice Premier League season to date: ?We are doing alright on the football front, 2nd top and halfway through the campaign.
?If any coach had been offered that before the league began this year they would have settled for it but we still have room to improve.
?We haven?t hit our straps yet and we might be peaking just at the business end of the year.?
Hit by a calf injury in the final pre-season game which led to the first five-six weeks out of the action, it was a personal nightmare for a guy who just wants to be out there with the lads, busting a gut for the team.
With plenty more years ahead of him in the game, Craig Midgley is a very welcome addition to the Manly side and the football family in Australia.
Being ?slightly potty? to be a striker maybe isn?t such a bad thing and should it manifest in the manner displayed above, perhaps the world would be a better place if we were all a little less saner?
-By Micky Brock