Failed eye test? That one I didn see comin

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

FOR a bloke of­ten lauded for his vi­sion and a war e n e s s , Ge­orge Boyd was pretty shocked to be told he couldn’t see. It was just gone 9pm on trans­fer dead­line day when the 27-yearold striker sat down for a video con­fer­ence which, he thought, would rub­ber stamp his move from Peter­bor­ough to Not­ting­ham For­est.

In­stead, he was forced to lis­ten in dis­be­lief as For­est of­fi­cials ex­plained that he had failed an eye test and the deal was off.

“Your head is all over the place,” he says. “The club had booked me a ho­tel and I had the fam­ily up. I was due to train the very next morn­ing be­cause For­est had a game against Birm­ing­ham. Then bang – they pulled the plug.

“The really dis­ap­point­ing thing was that it hap­pened so late. I had other of­fers but I couldn’t do any­thing about it be­cause there was no time.

“The man­ager at For­est, Alex McLeish, just kept apol­o­gis­ing. He tried to get me on loan straight­away but af­ter what hap­pened I was never go­ing to do that. No chance.

“In the end, I just wanted to get out of there, get back to play­ing foot­ball and take my mind off it. So I rang the gaffer at Posh (Dar­ren Fer­gu­son) and said I’d come straight back and train the next morn­ing.”


The in­ci­dent – up there with Peter Odemwingie’s mad dash to QPR for dead­line day ab­sur­dity – was to prove the cat­a­lyst for a mo­men­tous se­quence of events, less but­ter­fly ef­fect, more Alpine avalanche.

Within days, For­est man­ager McLeish had re­signed, con­vinced that the eye test fi­asco was a ruse cooked up by the club’s Kuwaiti own­ers who didn’t fancy Boyd.

Former man­ager Billy Davies re­turned to the City Ground and sent For­est soar­ing. And Boyd, af­ter a brief re­turn to Lon­don Road, joined pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Hull City where his touch and skill fit hand-in-glove with Steve Bruce’s pass-masters.

Mind you, the op­ti­cians of East Rid­ing clearly aren’t as ‘thor­ough’ as their coun­ter­parts in Not­ting­ham…

“I’ve had a med­i­cal at Hull,” says Boyd.“And yeah, I’ve had an eye test too. I went to the eye spe­cial­ist they use and he did ev­ery test un­der the sun.

“There was noth­ing wrong with it, which is ob­vi­ously very strange. I don’t know – draw your own con­clu­sions. I think its fair to say that Alex wanted me and the chair­man didn’t. But ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son and I’ve come out of it bet­ter off.”

Re­leased by Charlton at 16, Boyd has al­ways done things the hard way. Five years in Non­League with Steve­nage were fol­lowed by a Con­fer­ence-record £260,000 move to Peter­bor­ough, where his at­tack­ing part­ner­ship with Craig Mack­ail-Smith and Aaron McLean saw Posh rocket from League Two to the Cham­pi­onship.

Yet while McLean sealed a £1m move to Hull in De­cem­ber 2010 and Mack­ail-Smith joined Brighton for a club record £2.5m six months later, Boyd – un­ques­tion­ably the most tal­ented of the trio – was left on the shelf.Wasn’t that a source of frus­tra­tion?

“No, I never en­vied them,” he in­sists.“They’re both good mates and I was pleased for them. The truth is, I was happy at Peter­bor­ough.

“I was play­ing good foot­ball, I was a reg­u­lar in the team. And me and Dar­ren (Fer­gu­son) got on so well over the years. I knew ex­act- ly what he wanted and he knew the way I liked to play. Our foot­ball phi­los­o­phy was ex­actly the same. I was never un­happy, but I was get­ting to an age where I had to move on.

“That was the sole rea­son I’d de­cided I wasn’t go­ing to sign a new con­tract at Peter­bor­ough. I thought it was time to go and test my­self at a higher level.


“I’m 27 now and it reached a point where you think: ‘It has to be now’. The next few years will prob­a­bly be the best of my ca­reer so this was a hugely im­por­tant move.

“It’s not about get­ting money, it’s about find­ing a club that will suit the way you play and make the most of the those years. That’s why Hull was per­fect.”

Boyd scored within 40 sec­onds on his home de­but and now has four in six for his new side. De­spite a dam­ag­ing 1-0 de­feat to pro­mo­tion ri­vals Watford in mid­week, the Tigers went into the week­end a point clear of the Hor­nets in sec­ond and the striker says man­ager Steve Bruce is help­ing to keep the pres­sure off.

“It was bril­liant to hear Steve Bruce say he wanted me,” added Boyd. “He’s a guy who’s won ev­ery­thing at the high­est level, played with some amaz­ing play­ers.

“His record speaks for it­self so when some­one like that wants you at his club, it’s a mas­sive con­fi­dence boost. “He’s a very laid-back guy and I think his main strength is mak­ing play­ers re­laxed and con­fi­dent. He ba­si­cally just says:‘Go out and do what you do best’. I thin such good f

“Even n that’s rid­ing Pre­mier Le sure from h you to en­joy

And Boy goals in 29 six years backed his the drop.

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“But in th all be­lieve enough to on­ship an they’ve go they will.

“Be­sides small work teams come small old g 6,000 fans th

“The fac com­pete w an achievem tament to ev

BRAVE­HEART: Birm­ing­ham’s Chris Burke HOT-SHOT: Jor­dan Rhodes SORRY: For­est boss Alex McLeish

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