Who is Lee Fielder?
With Burridge's third consecutive match being called off because of a waterlogged pitch, we turn our attention instead to Burridge striker, Lee Fielder.
(Pic by Roz H) Lee Fielder takes warming up seriously.
Redbridge's manager, allowing himself a moment to think out loud over the nearby traffic of the A27, gave his assessment of the Burridge side: “This lot are fucking shit.”
Standing fifteen yards further up the touchline, injured Burridge striker Lee Fielder, put that observation into perspective by reminding Redbridge's manager that Burridge were winning the game.
“You what, mate?” He replied, dropping his linesman's flag onto the mud and turning his back on the game. "I'll knock you out in a minute, you prick."
“Get on with it,” Lee told him, as his right hand tightened into a fist around the plastic grip of his umbrella. “You're supposed to be running the line."
“I don't give a fuck,” replied Redbridge's manager. If half his team had started to lose interest in the game because they'd sooner look for someone to pick a fight with, why should he be any different?
That was in March, back when Lee still wasn't fit to play. He keeps himself busy by fighting his way into T-shirts from the children's department. If ever anybody starts taking pictures of a Burridge game whilst he's on the bench he'll start doing a few stretching exercises somewhere in shot of the camera. You'll never get to audition for the Davidoff commercial by missing a chance to look deep with your shirt tied around your waist. Not that Lee relies solely on football to express himself.
It's summer of 2006 and he's stood under the shade of a tree, watching Kristian Hewitt play tennis against Bryn Schwodler on an uneven clay surface in Fuerteventura. Each one of their strokes explores a new part of the baseline. Kristian offers his racket to Lee. After five minutes or so another of his forehands gets stopped by the net. Instead of retrieving the ball, he swats an imaginary pest away from his face with a heavy swing of his racket, then drops it on the floor and walks off the court, each step hitting the ground a little bit harder than the last. You got the impression it was only a matter of time until his hotel door got slammed off its hinges.
Most attempts to play consecutive games during the last five years have been interrupted by two things; firstly, a frown squashes his forehead together like a concertina playing a sad song out of tune, then he gets substituted holding his bandaged knee. He'd arrived for this year's pre-season training on the shores of the Solent dressed in black lycra. He looked like some evil gay superman, setting the pace in the sprint time trials. Then weeks later during a relay race something in his body clocked off for the day and he began to frown again. As he walked off the field everyone took a moment to spare a thought for the door of his car.
Nobody knows exactly what's wrong with Lee's knees. It might just be the wear and tear of twenty years spent playing football, but you can't help feeling that anyone who thinks that they're breaking news by saying that drinking the odd glass of milk is good for your bones, two months after breaking their leg, has nothing to lose getting a second opinion from a specialist.
Lee made an appearance from the substitutes bench during last season's mid-weeker with Northend. Burridge's one-nil defeat made Northend's chances of promotion to the premiership almost certain. Their manager was at ease with being no oil painting, and he didn't carry himself like one either. Maybe once in a while he'd do well to keep his trolley away from the dessert aisle, but still, he wasn't used to being called a big fat fuck. Not from such close quarters. Each word hit him with the smell of spearmint chewing gum.
Pretty much everyone had showered and gone home when he walked into Burridge's changing room to return the match card to Pete Lyons. “Well played," he said, as Pete swept up the empty Lucozade bottles and screwed up strips of electrical tape, that got stuck in the bristles of the broom's moustache as it made its way across the green carpet floor. “That number eight of yours,” he said, searching for the right word as he worked his tongue around the inside of his cheek. “He's a pretty fiery character, isn't he?” When he said character he meant wanker.
“What, Lee?” Laughed Pete. “Yeah, he's committed.”