Despite my busy schedule, I’ve been itching to write about something spontaneous, anything unplanned that doesn’t require interviewing or thinking. So allow me, at least in this post, to step out of my Azkals and Global FC work zone as I revert to being a fan. Not the hardcore type, just the random passerby type.
On January 9, 2013, I was boxing up all my stuff at the office for a scheduled renovation when I stumbled upon something that reminded me of why I called Chris Greatwich intelligent about two years ago when I was bitching complaining about Manchester United’s lack of a proper midfielder.
For such a vague word, I’m pretty sure I was describing intelligence in terms of football (i.e., game intelligence, incisive passes, creativity, reading of the game, decision making, and coaching know-how), knowledge (i.e., articulate, witty, and informed), and relationships (i.e., a good sense of humor). Whenever he says and tweets something, it’s always worth reading. Like Gary Neville’s description of Scholesy, I think Chris has plenty of opinions—it’s just that he doesn’t waste words. You’ll never know what I saw, but you just have to take my word for it when I say that he’s intelligent.
If you remember, Chris came up with National Azkals Day, a holiday within the realm of Philippine football. He also wrote a special message on December 26, 2011, to invite the fans to come and support Dili Kamo Nag-iisa, the Sendong charity game, because he believes that football is the beautiful game and has the power to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
We didn’t see a repeat of his heroic acts at the recently concluded 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, sadly, even though—no offense and I’m not biased—I joined FTW’s campaign for him on Twitter just to engage the fans.
What if we could score goals from centered balls again? What if Chris could have given us some variation? So many what-ifs, but of course, there are no regrets because there’s always another game to play and to be won.
When you represent the flag, you don’t have time to complain. Just being on the team is more than enough honor. I just hope that whatever happened won’t undermine his skills as a player. I know he still has it, and you know it.
He is now playing for Kaya FC, and while it is our “rival” club, I’m just glad that he is here in the Philippines. I really am.
From a genuine football fan’s point of view, I would be happy because as he comes to the end of his time as a player (well, not any time soon; he’s only 29), he chooses to spend a new chapter of his life here in the Philippines, to play for a local club and maybe even help build a legacy for the next generation of footballers. This is his other home, after all. Having worked with various people in his career, he can definitely share his experience and become a top coach who can pass down his knowledge.
I’ve never interviewed Chris Greatwich about his life, so this isn’t some kind of biography or feature article. This is just me assuming things from a presumptuous supporter’s perspective and reminding fellow football fans about who Chris is for me. Ha! I know that in 2004, he fulfilled his lifelong ambition to play for the Philippine national football team. So I’m assuming that if there’s one player (at least one of the senior players) who can give a credible and reliable testament of the team’s progress and development or just Philippine football in general, that would be Chris. And now he is here with us.
Well, Rob Gier is also a contender. That’s something I can write about next!
Welcome home, Chris!