A kind of player which transcends the various eras of this wonderful, having a stable utility man is something that will always be treasured.
Throughout his career, Geremi has proven to be a very dependable defender/midfielder. Tbh, I’m surprised the Cameroonian hasn’t been trialled out as a front-man at some point – mind you, he did possess some decent technical ability, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some YouTube video circulate at some point.
We spoke recently about the virtual version of this type of player in Anthony Vanden Borre on the ’07 edition of Football Manager. There, I recall saying that he would be ‘the first name on my team sheet’, and I’d be surprised if many fans of Real Madrid or indeed Chelsea couldn’t admit the same about Geremi.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to suggest that Geremi was an incredible player, but he possessed a number of key characteristics that endear him to my own sensibilities of football. I personally think that players have a certain ‘job’ to perform – and the more talented you are, the broader your job description will be.
In his case, you had somebody who was physically quick and strong, but also well-tempered enough to know when was best to launch into a tackle or allow the opponent some breathing room. Such characteristics were shown to the scouts of Real Madrid just before the turn of the millennium.
He spent four years at the Santiago Bernabeu and gave his all to two UEFA Champions League wins. All before their infamous ‘Galactico’ policy (which we’ve spoken about at length here at Ultra United) forced him out of the club and into the welcoming arms of a nouveau-riche Chelsea in 2003. Hmm … sounds kinda familiar …
Throughout their early stages in the Premier League, Geremi was (unsurprisingly) ever-present right across The Blues’ defensive and shallow midfield lines. With his technical passing and visionary skills improving under the bright Sky Sports lights, he was about as dependable as a Toyota in a dry summer in the Cotswolds.
He later voyaged over to Newcastle (much to the dismay of a select few Boro fans who remember his prior loan spell there positively), before ownership issues and related managerial problems darkened his times in England. Nowadays, I doubt many Geordies would hold him in such high esteem, but certain Londoners and Madridians most certainly will. At least, I hope so …