6 March 2018

GLENN: AN APOLOGY

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Peter Ward forgave you.”

I have a confession to make. When C*****l P****e’s Glenn Murray clutched his cruciate ligament at Selhurst Park during our play-off semi-final first leg in May 2013, I viciously urged him to get up. Timewasting b*****d, I thought.

A fellow Albion fan in the row in front - a gentleman somewhat longer in the tooth - suggested that I pipe down and empathise with the poleaxed Muzza. Empathy has never been my strong point. It became I heated row. I uttered the word ‘traitor’ on several occasions and volleyed a barrage of sweary abuse at Muzza and the Albion fan.

Almost five years later, I admit I was wrong.

Glenn has now surpassed Bobby Zamora’s total goal haul for the Albion and I think I forgive him for his past mistakes. Well, that one big mistake. I feel like his road to redemption has been so great, that I owe him - and the fellow Albionite at Selhurst that night - a massive apology.

This season I’ve become re-infatuated by our number 17. When the number 17 bus passes me, my thoughts turn to Glenn. I stumbled across the number 17 lamppost on the morning of the Arsenal match, and my mind wandered towards our centre forward. I’ve just moved house, near a Murray Street - if we stay up, a permanent marker will ensure it becomes Glenn Murray Street.

Don’t get me wrong, I hated him for what he did to us back then. I was still very much on the Gus Bus and simply couldn’t fathom it being Poyet’s fault. I was absolutely gutted about his leaving because somehow I had become a huge fan of Muzza without even realising it. He was the first regular goalscorer post-Bobby, and I had never wanted to think of Murray as highly as that. (As it turns out, Poyet took us all for fools.)

Since Glenn has returned, he has slowly won me back over. At first I was sceptical - and there is still anger on occasion (that missed penalty brought out our fickle hatred). But now, I realise he must go down as one of the greatest Albion strikers of all time, and you have to respect that. I still call him 1 in 10, Glenn and I still sing the rude version of the Murray Wonderland song, but this boy is class and I think I now realise it. He’s scored more than Bobby; he’s almost scored more than Ward; and he’ll probably score more than everyone else in our history ever, other than perhaps Tommy Cook.

Goals help. The more Glenn scores - and the more he celebrates with the kind of passion he possibly didn’t display the first time around - the more I forgive. But this season, in particular, has not just been about goals. It’s been about work rate, hold-up play, successful aerial battles and - most importantly - making the right decisions at the right time. This bloke has done more for my football club than my potty mouth ever will. He deserves forgiveness for it all. And it’s not just forgiveness I have for him now - it’s love.

Plus, GM has blossomed into a really decent looking bloke. That fresh faced kid who was seemingly offside 90% of the time at the Withers was an ugly duckling. This second stint Glenn Murray is a beautiful swan.

Muzza plays and speaks with the maturity of a 34-year-old now. His post-match interviews are soaked in entirely the right tone. It is clear to see that the striker is enjoying his football now more than ever - possibly as a result of the career end coming into view. He loves scoring goals; and we love seeing him scoring goals.

Following the Arsenal win, I stumbled out of the North Stand slightly inebriated. There was Glenn. It was fate. One nervously taken selfie later and I realised I had to apologise for the abuse I gave him that night at Selhurst. Perhaps I’m more mature now, too?

I stopped short of discussing his tax affairs but I'm genuinely up for starting a crowd funder to pay his tax bill. Just as long as the fund doesn't also help Steve Parish or Dexter Blackstock (allegedly).

There’s only one thing that will always irk me, just how legendary could Glenn have been had he not wasted a few seasons up the A23?

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