FOOTBALL bores often spend inexplicable amounts of time – the kind of time and energy which if better used could probably find a solution to global warming – picking ‘greatest ever XIs’ from history to find a best ever England team where Sir Bobby Moore can play with Saint Gary Lineker or a best ever Arsenal fantasy side where Thierry Henry teams up with Ted Drake.
Now, if they were to mark up a greatest ever Fortismere School XI, it’d have ME in goal – OBVIOUSLY! OF COURSE! – for being in the 1992 Haringey Cup final winning team which beat the then dastardly Gladesmore. The greatest XI would also have Bret Martin, now a very successful estate agent in north London who was bigger and better than all of us, at centre back, Sid Lowe, the Guardian’s sharp-shooting Spanish football expert up front, and on the wing: Martin Hayes, a former Fortismere lad who did actually go onto play for Arsenal.
But then will come the real stardust in the line-up…
A new biography of The Kinks (God Save The Kinks by Rob Jovanovic), sent to the CNJ this week, reveals the Fortismere School rivalry between former pupils Ray Davies, the Kinks’ lead singer, and Rod Stewart, the Wear It Well singer who went to Fortismere, captained the school team and had a brief trial with Brentford. You wouldn’t know it from how much he bangs on about Celtic but Rod, when at the school (then named William Grimshaw School) was a Gooner teenager, the book tells us. For a split second back in the mists of time, it is suggested not for the first time, Stewart might have played with The Kinks before they took separate routes from soccer fields in Muswell Hill to stardom. I’m more interested in the old school football team.
Jovanovic writes: “He [Rod] was born in Highgate and attended the Highgate Primary School before William Grimshaw. Like Ray, he was an Arsenal supporter and a talented footballer captaining his year… ‘He was on the football team and he and Ray were both very competitive and hated each other,’ said Pete Quaife. ‘It makes me giggle,’ said David Quaife when asked about Rod Stewart. ‘He was briefly involved but he wasn’t singing, he had a harmonica and once or twice was the most I saw of him. They did a little gig together but everyone was like: Oh bloody hell what’s he doing.”
What a team it would be – although fair’s fair, Fortismere’s greatest XI would no doubt be perfectly trumped by Haverstock’s greatest XI which would feature both England internationals Joe Cole and John Barnes, and David Miliband, who also played in goal during his schooldays.
God Save The Kinks is out on June 3, published by Aurum. You can place orders now.
* Any connection with Arsenal, long forgotten, Rod wept tears of joy when watching Celtic beat Barcelona earlier this season. What a sight that was.