Burridge are still looking for a goalkeeper, but back in 2005 they were looking for anybody who didn't mind spending 90 minutes of their Saturday afternoon running around a field. I decided to step in and taped and stapled a blue A4 advert all over Southampton requesting players to apply to my email. I took refuge in the bunker waiting for what surely was going to be a very high number of responses, but nobody ever did reply. Not one single person. So I resorted to desperate measures and put the ad out onto the Internet.
Finally, Burridge got a reply.....
...."Greetings to you, Emerson. I am also commending you for a job well done. My name is Taiwo-Ogunleye, I am a young healthy young man of 16yrs old who hails from Nigeria. My purpose of sending this mail is to inform you that I have viewed your profile via the Internet and I am interested in joining your youth team.
I played for a local but unregistered club here in Nigeria. However the unavailability of my club to register has really dashed my chances of proving myself as a good player.
SIR, my family are aware of this proposal and they have given me a go-ahead, and infact they are ready to bear all the responsibility toward my progress in the football industries since thay have known me to have an ambition to be a good footballer. I will be very greatful if my proposal to help me join your youth team is favourable considered....."
I await a favourable reply from you sooner.
This was quickly followed by this......
..."I went through the website and I am impressed at what I saw which i see as a great and a club for the future, so i will like to send three of my players to your club for a trial and maybe then we can settle other terms. And their age categorically 16/17 year old male from Nigeria, in which they have played in several amateur league competition. So therefore i will be extremely grateful if my offer is being granted favourable consideration...."
.....3 players! I thought it was only right I replied...
Lovely to hear from you. Burridge is only a local amateur team in Southampton, we are not professional, we are not even semi professional. In fact I'm not even sure if we're semi semi, if you see what I mean. Anyway, We play in an organised league, but just for fun, although that comes into question at times.
I'm not sure if Easyjet do a last minute flight from Lagos to Southampton, but if you do have to blow all your money on airfare you can always save on accommodation by staying at my place. It's not the Ritz, but I like to call it home.
....I never did hear back from Bolaji, and sometimes, maybe when I'm having a nice sit down and a cup of tea, I wonder what he's up to. Wonder if he regrets not getting on that plane. After all, we could have done with those lads that season.