THE SUGARMAN SAYS
God Bless the Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in
Why don’t people like me, David? I’m just an ordinary bloke trying to do a job”. Emotional words, a searching, heart wrenching question that brings a tear to the eye as I type. A man desperately wanting to know what he was doing wrong, why didn’t people warm to him? Why was he, despite all his successes, the butt of so many jokes? The victim of so many a dressing room prank? Why was HE so despised in a sport so synonymous with ‘gentlemen’?
The ‘David’ he put the enquiry to was none other than the former England Captain David Gower. The year was 1982 and England’s cricketers were touring India. His question master that day (you may already have worked out) was none other than Geoff Boycott.
Born in Fitzwilliam, Yorkshire in war torn England in 1940, Geoffrey Boycott should personify everything that is great and good about this fair land.
A northern lad, of simple stock, he went on to hold the record for most test runs scored by an English batsman, made 151 first class centuries and his ‘impenetrable defenses’ won and saved many a war for club and country.
Yet, lets not mince words. Boycott is hated. Botham hated him, his team mates hated him, his ‘friends’ were few and far between and even now his position in the
Channel 4 commentary team appears to represent little more than ‘sport’ for public school japes of Mike Atherton.
Atherton is ever so subtle in giving Geoff just enough rope to hang himself time and time again. “What would you have made on this wicket Geoff?” sniggers Athers, as he metaphorically pushes another tee into the ground for Geoffrey to launch a 400 yard drive….. “OOOHH I’d have been disappointed not to make ‘an ‘undred” the Yorkshire man duly responds. Cue the guffaws from Mark Nicholas, Slats et al.
Richie Benaud is no better. Even he appears to be highly
accomplished in the sport of ‘Boycott Baiting’. “Would
you have went off with two spinners on in this light
Geoffrey?” knowing fine well a reply like “I’ve faced
Freddie Truman in a black out, on uncovered wickets in just my
underpants” is just around the corner.