‘In goal, number one, Carl MyKeme!’ (hooray!)
‘Number two, Matt Doherty (hooray!). Number three, Scott Goldfish (hooray!).’
And so my little boy would go on, broadcasting the rest of the Wolves side from 2013/14 with fanatical enthusiasm, making those lovable little literals as he’d go.
I never corrected his blissful innocence as he merrily announced his heroes (nor his favourite touring car driver Jason Play-Doh or cricketer Moeing Ali, come to think of it).
But it always started with Carl MyKeme. Number one.
While Fosun’s toing and froing over the summer months has demanded more than a story or two from me, my sabbatical could only end with a note about the Big Man.
Yes, my cup runneth over with every passing Portuguese, but the fact Carl Ikeme won’t be there leaves me a little bit preoccupied.
He won’t be striding towards the South Bank with towel over his shoulder, in what my mind paints as a jet-black strip with neon tinge.
He won’t be clapping the hordes of shirt sleeved fans behind the goal in dependable, reassuring gait, in the exact same manner he did at Chesterfield in 2013 where my son frantically scurried to keep up.
He had an unquantifiable aura, did Carl. A quiet authority that commanded attention. So polite to me, my boy and Dad, and a smile to bely his stature.
From that day forth, Carl Ikeme belonged to my son in his innocent little mind. A player he imitated with some gusto after a penalty save away at Colchester, when the usually stone-faced stopper went absolutely mental. The rendition made me laugh like Carl’s histrionics on the day!
That he won’t be around is tough. Telling my son why he’s not there tougher still, and thinking of where Carl will be at 3pm the toughest of the lot.
Watching Gillette Soccer Saturday from home? Listening to Mikey Burrows on the radio? Or sipping a cup of tea with his family and forgetting about the day job.
Wherever he is, I’ll be thinking of him. Every corner we defend, every back pass we place and hopefully, every goal we score.
Not so much a keeper to me and Arthur, but an absolute bloody hero.
Number One. Carl MyKeme.
* If you want to support the guys raising money for Cure Leukemia today doing the 24 penalty shootout. Text: CARL24 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.