Paul Dickov and Los Galacticos – Heroes of Youth

The stars of Real Madrid’s “Galacticos” project form an unlikely alliance with Leicester City’s Paul Dickov in the latest entry for “Heroes of Youth”.
Rory Gibson is reader of the site who is, despite his relatively tender years, a self-confessed grumpy old fan. I am delighted that he has sent in a few words on his own childhood heroes…

My Childhood Heroes, by Rory Gibson.


Yesteryear to me, as a 17 year old, may seem like an exaggeration to many of the readers of ‘Grumpy Old Fan’, despite this I still have fond memories of what I call the ‘glory days’…of 2003/2004.

It was my first season as a season ticket holder and my obsession with the beautiful, yet imperfect, game had begun. There was (and still is) something irresistible about the promise of the salty taste of a Bovril warming you through while you get lost in a world of noise and laughter before the match, then if you’re lucky being thrown into the air as the ball sends a ripple across the back of the net.

The 2003-2004 season was the first time I can remember Leicester City being in the Premier League. Retrospectively, it was an awful season for the club, but it didn’t matter to the 6 year-old me.

An incident in La Manga where Keith Gillespie, Frank Sinclair and Paul Dickov were accused of sexual assault turned out to set the tone for the rest of the season as they suffered an awful run of form, winning just once in 22 games and were eventually relegated into the ‘First Division’.

It is difficult to imagine how I could fall in love with football after such a bizarre and disappointing season, but I believe it was an element of the game that has been accused of diminishing recently, the passion.

Paul Dickov for Leicester City

Paul Dickov, courtesy – copyright: hst43077

Dickov’s trademark knee-slide celebration represents this perfectly because it demonstrated the will to win that he shared with the fans, can it be said that passion is replicated to the same extent by current professionals?

Aside from Leicester City, the Premier League in the 2003-2004 season was one of the most entertaining and enthralling seasons in its history. This was the year of ArseneWenger’s ‘Invincibles,’ who became the first team to record an undefeated season in the Premier League. Thierry Henry also set the league alight by scoring a total of 30 goals.

Chelsea had an exciting season, too,  spending around £100 million on new players such as Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele in the summer which saw them claim second place—uncharted recent territory for the blues.


Galacticos in Action, courtesy commons.wikimedia GNU Free Documentation Licence

Galacticos in Action, courtesy commons.wikimedia GNU Free Documentation Licence

Meanwhile, in Europe David Beckham was demonstrating what the British are capable of amongst arguably the most impressive squad ever: namely, the ‘Galactico’ side that included Zindedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos.

11 years ago, all the aforementioned names were competing for the Ballon d’Or—a situation which is distinctly different to the two obvious candidates currently competing for the award.




The “galacticos” that captured the imagination of the footballing world just 11 years ago are my heroes of yesteryear. The quality, passion and desire that they all possessed are what ,to me, defines football as the ‘beautiful game’.

You can follow Rory on twitter @Gibbolar


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