POOR Stewart Downing.
His only crime was to have a left foot and enough talent to get him into the top flight of domestic football.
Yet coming of age at a time when the English public were dreaming of a world class left winger to solve all the problems of the national side, his inferiority to the likes of a Ryan Giggs, a Leo Messi or even a Diego Maradonna, has brought Stewart into the firing line for much criticism over matters completely out of his control.
All of which means that while Kenna managers may appreciate Downing is a regular starter, they are also quick to blame him when things aren’t going well.
His demeanour doesn’t help. Constantly looking like a small boy at an information desk awkwardly hearing his own name being read out over the shopping centre tannoy and dreading the moment his relieved mother makes a tearful reunion now the school bully has clocked him while out for a spot of shoplifting, Stewart’s expression appears to invite contempt.
This season Downing is the only player to appear for three different Kenna teams, having found himself released at both transfer windows.
Bought for £9.5m by Judean Peoples’ Front at the August auction, the winger overcame injury and settling in to West Ham to only score at an average of 1.33 points a week. Downing found himself released at the October transfer window.
The Newington Reds manager snaffled Downing for half a million pounds and throughout autumn, Christmas and January he scored at a very creditable three points a week. League leaders FC Testiculadew have seen their players score at 2.9 points a week on average this campaign.
A Liverpool fan, perhaps it was the Newington Reds manager’s memory of that season of no goals and no assists, but he saw fit to jettison Downing at the February window.
Northern Monkeys picked up the winger for the nominal £0.5m, and have seen him continue that form to score at 2.67 points a week.
What was the Reds manager’s midfield doing while his former player was helping Monkeys to the Canesten Combi Cup semi final?
Assembled for £13m at that raucous night in The Enterprise, the trio of Nathan Redmond, Adnan Januzaj and Oussama Assiadi have scored just two more points between them than Downing.
“The nine-year trophy hunt for Reds continues,” said the chairman, his PhD in hindsight neatly framed on his Kenna HQ office wall.
Stewart Downing’s season
Judean Peoples’ Front – £9.5m – six weeks / eight points – 1.33 point a week
Newington Reds – £0.5m – 13 weeks / 39 points – 3 points a week
Northern Monkeys – £0.5m – nine weeks / 24 points – 2.67 points a week
Newington Reds replacement midfield:
Redmond – £0.5m – 12 points
Januzaj – £12m – 11 points
Assaidi – £0.5m – 3 points