Arise, Sir Harry Kewell

Sir Harry Kewell anyone?

Well, what can you say when arguably one of our best soccer players of all time announces his retirement in the same week the prime Minister brings back knighthoods and damehoods.

It has been one of those weeks in our great country, and sport, as usual, is never far from the media forefront.

From AFL superstar Lance Buddy Franklin finding out that Sydney is very different from Melbourne, to the tragedy of the injury to young Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon and Sir Harry’s retirement speech, sport as usual dominated media proceedings despite some heavy hitting in the general news department.

Including the departure of one Governor-General and the swearing in of a new one, and some strange politics on racial discrimination from the mob that now rule in our national capital.

But back to the relative safety of sport, and our Harry, as it were.

Being the resident soccer ‘‘expert’’ in my office, I have been asked how high I would rate Harry Kewell.

The short answer is very high, but that’s just not good enough for some people, who will follow up with a question along the lines of: Best ever? In your top 5? Top 10? That sort of thing.

It’s a bit annoying but you get the feeling that human beings have always loved statistics and ratings, so you draw a breath and do your best.

Straight up I have to confess that I was a huge fan of young Harry Kewell when he burst on to the scene in the mid 1990s.

Keep this to yourself but I actually went on a road trip to Melbourne in 1997 to watch Harry and the Socceroos take on Iran in a World Cup qualifier.

Everyone who went on that trip - there were four of us - went along because of Harry, no question about it.

That’s how good he was; the sort of player you’d go a long way to see.

Young Harry was young and handsome, and better still, he could play. He was as cool as a cucumber with the ball at his feet, or his head, and I remember we entertained the optimistic notion of him becoming the best player in the world! It must have happened after a few beers.

Of course Harry went on to become an English Premier League superstar  at Leeds, then Liverpool.

Yes, he did disappoint his Aussie fans when he wouldn’t come back for the early qualifiers against the Oceania minnows, but we still loved him when he pulled on the green and gold jumper for the crucial games.

And Harry always gave his all, nobody can take that away from him.

Some people say that his overall career was a bit of a mixed bag, but I disagree.

Nobody’s life is ever a straight line and Harry is no exception. I have no doubt he always wanted to do his best for the teams he played for; sometimes he tried almost too hard.

He gave me and many other sport fans a lot of joy over the years, so, Harry Kewell, thank you and enjoy your retirement. You have earned a knighthood.  

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