It is unavoidable and there is no polite way of saying it. So let's get it over with:
MICK QUINN WAS A FAT BASTARD
When he arrived on loan from Coventry towards the end of the 1994/95 season, the latest
in an endless procession of players who weren't Paul Furlong, his fat bastardness
was not headline news. It had always been so - indeed, Quinn had turned his ample
girth into something of a sales gimmick during a successful career as a top flight
And there's something vaguely admirable about that. Quinn's very obvious refusal to
commit himself to anything even slightly resembling an athlete's lifestyle was ultimately
just dull, laddish indulgence. But today's sleek 'n' soulless world lends such grease-caked
memories a certain nostalgic quality.
It's hard to imagine, for example, Mick Quinn ever being asked to appear in one of those hell-awful 'Match Of The Day' title sequences. It's
rather fun to try, though. Picture it, if you will - Alan Shearer looks hard and menacing, Michael Owen looks like a pop star, John Hartson
kisses his badge tenderly, Mick Quinn gets stuck into his eighth pint of best down his local....
But this is The Hall Of Arse and Quinn was absolute arse at Watford. It may be feasible to
be an utter slob and a footballer in your twenties; it's just not possible on the 'experienced'
side of thirty. He was laughable, waddling around at a pace barely discernible from a
stroll in a manner that suggested some fat geezer who'd won a 'Play A Match With The Hornets'
He couldn't win the ball in the air because getting such excess weight off the ground was
impossible without the aid of a crane. He couldn't run with the ball because he
couldn't run as fast as the ball. Even the trademark "right place, right time" striker's
instinct was worthless because, by the time he'd huffed and puffed his way to the "right place", the
referee had blown for full time, the fans had gone home and the last one to leave the
ground had turned the floodlights off.
Mick Quinn started four matches for the Hornets and didn't finish any of them, perhaps
because Glenn Roeder feared a fatal collapse at any moment. On each occasion, it
was difficult to avoid the impression that he'd been propping up the bar in the Red
Lion half an hour before kickoff. Which could bring forth warm images of yesteryear -
goalies smoking fags during quiet spells, players warming up with a nip of the hard stuff,
rain-soaked balls heavy enough to demolish buildings, that kind of nonsense - were it not
for a wage bill that definitely didn't belong to yesteryear.
Many's the fan who's claimed to be able to do better than the players after some
particularly execrable showing. I'm a bit rubbish at football, so I won't say that
I could've been an improvement on Mick Quinn.
I would've run about a bit, though.