Remember Terry Dixon? Very highly rated youngster on the books at Spurs a few years back who without making a league appearance (or a reserve one at that), managed to win a call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad for a friendly match against Russia back in 2006. Dixon (probably because of his physical stature and shaved head) was being touted as the Irish Wayne Rooney. Superficial comparisons aside, the kid was a precocious talent and in fact had plenty in common with Rooney. Those who witnessed him in full flight saw a strong, confident young lad with bundles of skill. Irish Rooney? Perhaps. Way ahead in terms of ability of all the other 16 year old players at the time. Which is probably why Ireland took a cheeky look at him.
But, alas, we never got to see him beyond the academy team.
The club released him back in March 2008 (cancelling his contract) due a couple of very serious knee injuries (he managed to repeatedly dislocate his right knee). Once is bad enough, twice is pretty devastating. Several operations and failed comebacks meant Dixon was let go. The suggestion (according to medical staff) was he'd never be able to play top flight football, at least at the competitive level required to make the grade in a first team squad in the Premier League. Which is why he's signed for West Ham.
Sorry, that joke would have worked better if we were ABOVE the Hammers.
In all seriousness, I'm chuffed to bits he is back at a professional level. Shocked, but chuffed. This is a young lad who's dream was retired after almost an age was spent attempting to get him fit and primed for a fulfilling career. Seems a stint in Belgium with a knee-specialist along with further rehabilitation at West Ham has worked a treat. Obviously. Otherwise why would West Ham sign him on a three year contract?
Two years out with a serious injury at a critical stage of his development along with disciplinary issues (mostly off the field) along with the fact that Spurs were amazingly patient for a very lengthy time, working to get him back to fitness - makes it an astonishing comeback. Its a bit unexpected.
I wish him all the best at West Ham and hope he makes a full recovery, as unbelievable as it might have seemed had we discussed the possibility 5 months back. Even if he scores a cracker against us, I'd applaud (quietly in my mind).
If he doesn't make the grade at West Ham, I hope he makes it somewhere else. The lad obviously has a never say die attitude and wants football in his life, regardless of the odds stacked against him.