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The Hall Of Arse:
Mick Quinn
by Ian Grant
It is unavoidable and there is no polite way of saying it. So let's get it over with:


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 goal poacher.

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' raffle.

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.