The first (but not last) team the Hub coached. He was driving past somewhere in Johannesburg one day (sorry to be so vague but it was twenty-five years ago and I wasn’t even there) and saw a boys’ football match going on. He had time to pass so he stopped to watch. One team was dreadful. It was Wanderers. Wanderers is a famous cricket ground in South Africa. Or is it rugby? Not football, anyway.
The Hub is not a shrinking violet: at half-time he walked up to the manager and said, ‘Do you mind if I give you a few tips?’ And did.
The manager fell on to the Hub’s shoulder, crying. He was a young man, about twenty, who played rugby and knew nothing about football. His brother was in the team and they had no coach, so he took it on. The Hub was a gift from the heavens.
The Hub loved it. So did the kids: they equalised in that game, and won many more afterwards. A novel experience, as they had only ever lost previous games.
I’m not sure how good an example he set, though. I once went to watch a match and I heard one mother ask another mother, ‘Who is that angry young man?’
He was once sent off by the ref, and he didn’t even play. Hurling abuse from the sidelines doesn’t count as a sport. If passion for the beautiful game was a sport, however, he’d be the stuff of legend.