by Stephen Tudor (Daisy Cutter)
The only other love letter I’ve ever written was when I was 14 and hopelessly besotted with a girl in the sixth form.
A friend shared my deluded idolising and I recall a conversation one day as we walked home from school.
Him: “She’s all I think about. Even when I’m having my dinner”
Me: “I can’t even eat”
As is painfully apparent back then I worshipped at the gladioli-strewn altar of Morrissey and viewed life as a wonderfully dark drama.
Growing up I grew up and the idea of penning an adoring ode became ridiculous and a bit wet, replaced by gruff declarations of affection and only when very drunk.
So why is it that I am now splattering my heart onto the page – risking scoffing on Twitter and that look you get from mates – and all for a Premier League footballer I’ve only ever encountered several feet beyond a touchline?
Because on Saturday, when you pulled up in agony Sergio in the opening moments of the Everton game, and your eyes glazed with tears. Those tears man. They did something to me.
Now I love my girlfriend very much but I will presumably never write soppy verse to her. She would rightly see it as ridiculous. A bit wet. Whereas you Sergio, if you were to ever read this, I think you’d get it. You’d know why and your lovely face would beam out a lovely smile in appreciation.
You would know in your latin soul there are different kinds of love and this one is born in gratitude, a gratitude that is unfathomable in its fathoms, so deep does it reside. My girlfriend is incredible but it was you sir who, with one assured strike in 2012, exploded my world into an unimaginable dream that I am yet to awake from. Standing in a Manchester street, drenched by tears and champagne, I felt a lifetime of sporting disappointment exorcised from a single moment of your brilliance. Whereas last Christmas my other true love gave me a nice jumper.
By the way, its okay Sergio, she knows about us. Rolls her eyes at the mention of your name but otherwise I’m free to immerse myself in this unrequited adoration.
She draws the line at a poster on our bedroom wall but I’m working on that.
Like any great affair it began at the beginning, at the scribbling of your signature that bound us to the best years of our lives.
When Robinho signed it all felt so surreal, akin to a Lotto winner from the Midlands buying a speedboat. But you Kun were a statement, a mark of ambition that still sends a shiver down the spine when I recall that summer day when you stepped outside the Etihad, all checked shirt and bashful grin, and charmed the pants off your newly adoring public.
I’m old enough to remember Barry Conlon; Lee Bradbury; Wayne Clarke whose only contribution in 21 appearances was to protest to the ref about defenders climbing all over him. Just jump for the ball Clarke you *****!! Sorry, I honestly though I’d let that one go.
Suddenly we had a superstar in the making and make it you certainly have, rocketing yourself into the world’s elite while we Blues laugh and laugh in the co-pilot’s seat and rival fans begrudgingly admire your vapour trail. Sixty-six league goals in a ton of appearances is a mind-blowing hit-rate but while the goals grab the glory and headlines it’s your tenacious hunger, outstanding leading of the line, not to mention the peerless manner in which you conduct yourself at the club and with fans that has really captured our hearts. After only three years in Manchester you are – and forever will be – a legend in blue and even today there are times when I shake my head in pure disbelief to see your name on our team-sheet.
This season you have raised the bar further; a devastating one-man spree of muscle, trickery and lethal execution exploding you into a stratosphere only inhabited by a select handful of talents who seem to have this football lark mastered.
Shankley said the game was a simple one made complicated: These past few months you’ve reduced a whole sport into appearing easy-peasy, tethering each daunting aspect with otherworldly ease.
Yet these three magical years together have always come at a price. The course of true love never did run smooth and your knocks, pulls, tweaks, and strains have brought their share of heartbreak. They are errant brushstrokes on a masterpiece, an exasperating curse, and considering the sensational form that preceded it perhaps Saturday’s breakdown was the cruellest thus far.
As ever your absence is accompanied by fret and fingers chewed to the quick with hundreds of unqualified doctors on social media predicting the time-frame of your recovery. Will it be four weeks? Will it be six? Longer still? We scan the sites and hold our breath.
It’s no surprise you’re still the favourite with bookmakers to emerge as the Premier League’s top goal scorer and here’s hoping Diego Costa doesn’t take advantage of your unavailability and streak ahead. It would be wrong. Just wrong. Like the beast beating beauty in a beauty contest.
Whatever the outcome, and whatever the fates have in mind, there is one thing unquestionable. You make us prouder still to be blue Sergio and for that we’ll love you always.
This will be the last love letter I’ll ever write. Because it’s ridiculous, a bit wet, and I no longer worship at the foot of Morrissey.
So perhaps I should make it count?
To my girlfriend, my club, and to you Sergio – all equally but so very, very differently – there are three lights that never go out.