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Heroes come, heroes go

June 18, 2013

“Jason Rhodes has left mate.”

My Dad’s word’s pierced through me. I was 10 years old, and this was becoming the worst pre-season ever.

Jason Rhodes was our rotund poacher, (he actually reminds me of our current badge, though he can’t have been that rotund) and had been banging the goals in on a regular basis from 1993 – 1996.

But for whatever reason, maybe poor form at the end of 95/96? Johnny Barton thought it was time for change after a disappointing 16th place finish in the Southern Premier, and Rhodesy followed a few others out the door.

Rhodesy was one of my ‘faves’. I was gutted. Burton Albion were never going to score a goal ever again.

Today, Calvin Zola has signed for Aberdeen. (Jason Rhodes went to Bilston Town.)

‘Big Calv’ had been with us since Jan 2011. He was very impressive on his debt at Burnley in the FA Cup, even scoring despite only being “25% fit” according to Paul Peschisolido.

He was borderline average with the odd glimmer of class for the remainder of his loan spell, finishing with an unspectacular 4 goals in 18 games.

Calv then signed permanently and became an invaluable asset to us – when fit. Some of his performances and goals have been worthy of a much higher league.

And now, along with other key men from last season Anthony O’Connor, Jacques Maghoma, and fans favourite’s Aaron Webster and John McGrath, Calvin Zola has left the Brewers and signed for Aberdeen… giving him the perfect opportunity to prove himself in a higher league with a team capable of European qualification.

Like most of you, I’m not overly surprised Zola left. Just watch last season’s DVD, the quality of goals from Zola and Maghoma… they weren’t sticking around in League 2.

And to be honest, I’m not that bothered either. I mean yeah, obviously, at times he was a class apart and he’ll be very hard to replace. But we didn’t do too badly when he was out injured this season, did we? I can’t remember us missing him too much in February…

But whilst washing up earlier (the fun) and pondering who Rowett will bring in, my mind wandered back to the day I found out Jason Rhodes was no longer a Brewer.

Whilst us older fans have seen it all before, the likes of Moore, Clare, Harrad all moving on, they’ll be much younger, newer Albion supporters who every time they see the paper or go on the internet are greeted with the news of another one of their favourite players leaving the Brewers.

These younger supporters will have spent all week at school wishing Maths and Science away like I used too, just so they can be back on the terraces on Saturday watching Maghoma and Zola tearing apart another defence.

And I do feel for them, because I remember how gutted I was when Rhodesy left. You can’t imagine the club without these players… You don’t want to imagine the club without these players.

But young Brewers, listen here.

The following season after Jason Rhodes departed, Johnny Barton bought in Mickey Nuttell and Micky Cotter, and soon I had 2 new ‘heroes’. I had forgotten all about Jason Rhodes.

Much more recently in summer 2008, Daryl Clare left the Pirelli for Rushden. If you weren’t a regular down at the Pirelli back then, Clare leaving us for a promotion-rival was a massive loss. Nigel Clough bought in Greg Pearson from the league below to replace him, and Greg Pearson scored within 2 minutes of his debut. A month into the season our young starlet John Brayford left for Crewe. I’m sure even if you weren’t attending Albion games in 2008/09, you’ll know how that season ended.

Life goes on young Brewers, and despite how tough it will be to repeat last season’s form I’m sure with Rowett at the helm we’ll be in for another enjoyable season. Rowett will work his magic in the transfer market, and next season you will have some new ‘heroes’, some new posters on your wall.

And us older Albion fans can relax, knowing the sight of Calvin Zola rubbing the back of his hamstrings with that worried look on his face is a sight we won’t get palpitations over again.

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From → The Albion.

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