I normally hate the segmentation of cultural life into arbitrary compartments like decades but the ten years just gone, I will never call it that name, really felt like a time when I was attached in a big way to a certain few sports people. I guess I was the same age as them, and they came through while I was watching and reading about them, while the players that have taken their places just seem like they don't belong to me in quite the same way. They seem like kids, their clothes make no sense to me, and their haircuts look alien. I bet the music they listen to will just seem like noise to me. Will I ever feel like I did about Steve Harmison, or Thierry Henry again?
There were people before them, of course, people like Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Merson, Courtney Walsh and Wasim Akram, but they were men as I was a boy and they seemed magical and other-worldly. Now my age has over-taken the people who I watch playing sport and the existential mortality that comes with that knowledge has somehow diminished my bond with them.
Whatever, here's my five men of the last decade....
Steve Harmison - Wides, homesickness, drink, more wides.
Robert Pires - Hair, chin beard, cheat, better than Henry.
Zinedine Zidane - Headbutts, red cards, and a perfect footballer.
Shoiab Akhtar - Genital warts, extreme pace, drugs, bans, the lot.
Andrew Symonds - Drink problems, loads of sixes, rows on the pitch, fights in the bar.
Here's to the next batch of troubled, angry, depressive, drunks that actually make sport worth watching.