Bright Enobakhare erupted into the minds of football fans everywhere the other night against Manchester City. This young lad kicked out the JAMS fully as he trotted onto the pitch and proceeded to confuse and kick up a stink around the 500 Billion pound city defense. Did I laugh? Damn right I did. I laughed the other week when Brighty strode around in the gaps in the play against Preston, he was chilling out, taking it easy and to be honest I never understood why. But now I think I do. I think it’s not up to me to comment on why Bright does what he does. I don’t want to comment because 1. I can hardly run with my knees and 2. Brights football understanding is on a totally different plane to mine.
His football is exciting and mad. He doesn’t fluff scoring goals I think. Maybe he’s already done all the hard work and everybody else is just struggling to keep up with the absolute avant garde football he plays. Instead of finding that player that has kept up with his groove and rhythm he often looks up after noodling a load of opposition players only to find that either there’s nobody to pass to or there’s a big chunk of the final ball missing. Final ball? The money shot, banging it between the keepers legs, popping it around him, sticking it in the bag so to speak. I’ve watched him play in the under 21’s and watched him coalesce into this team of absolute artists and he never looks out of place. I’m respectful. We are watching a pure artist but one we don’t understand yet. The jumble of football he presents to us looks confused but is it really? Are we watching him wrong? Probably he himself is struggling with the absolute weight of skill he actually has, and that skill is going to click into place soon as he runs riot. I’m sure he will. He is the random variable in this team of clinical and empirical skill sets. The random variable because we lack the capacity to understand actually what he’s doing. We don’t know because we have never done the shit Bright does on a football field. We will never be in that position.
All you have to do is work out how far one of his probing runs were against Man City. Work out the speed, look at the opposition trying to get the ball off him. This opposition bear in mind is the fucking cream of world football really. Bright is the Compton lad. Watch him make fools of them. Watch Bright Run, watch Bright skip, watch Bright control. It was effortless and it was beautiful and it was also novel in many ways. Has he not entertained? Do you have to score goals to put that full stop on such a game? Amazed wasn’t the word. I’ve noticed my hands shaking a lot when he gets the ball, and often falls over it. I don’t really care about him falling over, I don’t really care about him scoring goals. My Man City piece had a little about him not scoring and then me saying ‘I don’t care, I love him any way’. And I do. He is exactly how I would play. A little dysfunctional and raw, chaotic at times, mad man. But he’s not mad obviously, and his error is not that he is young and a bit daft. I think we just fail to understand him and his play. Miles Davis the famous Jazz trumpet player often hooted and blew daft riffs when playing with other jazz greats and you can hear this on many of the live club recordings he made. The errant note here and there was always a precursor to his ‘team mate’ whoever it was that night to try and correct the discordant Davis riff into a coherent melody. They struggled sometimes because they often lacked the capacity to understand what Miles was doing. Miles was provoking them. Now it’s a tough thing to extrapolate Miles and be-bop into Bright Enobakhare football madness but it’s the only way I can see. It’s not a superlative prod at the subject. I’m trying to understand football so abstract and beautiful that it boggles my mind to do it.
Bright is trying to ‘provoke’ football maybe and his vision of what constitutes football how he plays is not shared by his team mates to a degree, not yet. But I think they are getting a handle on things and I suspect Bright is also learning that the final note you play ie the goal is probably the most important to the listener or the fan. It’s the goal, that exuberant little melody or coda that encompasses and collects all the work that has gone on before and wraps it all up in a final triumphant finish. The thing is I don’t think Bright wants to finish, I suspect he wants the whole thing to continue in some endless jam in front of the opposition box. And Jesus Christ is it some tune that kid plays. Every time he has the ball I’m grooving to the whole idea of Bright Enobakhare and what he has to say. As he’s that random variable or errant note he stands out against the melodious football his mates are playing so he’s seen a lot more. Center stage. People waiting for that tune or that coda….alas.
I love Bright, I have to say he’s one of my favourite players currently in the team simply because he’s exciting, a maverick, a naughty boy and he appeals to me purely in that sense. I know full well that among the kids I used to teach at school there was always the one kid the teachers didn’t like, who they couldn’t teach, and that kid was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, always the first name mentioned when something had kicked off and more often than not getting the blame for it. I know those kids and I took them under my wing because I understood that they were simply too bloody clever for their own good most of the time. I look at Bright and I see a man that’s going to pop out of that youthful madness with a plan, a plan to wipe out other teams with his own brand of skills and madness. For that’s how we see these players, as being a bit crazy. I’m sure I’ve written elsewhere about ‘mad men’ and how they can galvanise a team. I think Nuno understands that Bright is exactly what this team needs to finish itself off. To make it a force that will lay waste to teams for years to come. Bright is the random variable, the bad boy who nobody will ever understand except himself. As soon as Bright does start to understand himself he is going to be unstoppable.