As any fule kno, the title means Happy Birthday to you, Luciano – please come back to Leeds United. The birthday wishes are standard; Becchio is 30 today which is a watershed in anyone’s life – and all the more so for a professional footballer, for whom the thirties are old-man, retirement territory.
Naturally, any article which even hints at the possible return of our former hero and regular goalscorer will be pounced upon by those who love to be seen pouring scorn on any such common sense. Loads of goals, total commitment, rapport with the crowd and unstinting bravery amid the flying boots of a crowded opposition penalty area – these are things that some people simply hate and can’t abide the thought of. The hostility which ensues whenever anybody suggests that Becchio could still be a Leeds United asset has to be seen to be believed. There are some angry and immature people out there, and I expect I shall receive some abusive feedback from a few of them. Who knows, I may even allow the odd one through?
The fact is of course that a Luciano type player is exactly what we need to increase the options for how our team might be set up and deployed. If El Hombre himself were to arrive as a returning prodigal son, with a quality winger in tow – perhaps the French Ligue 1 might be a good place to look – then so much the better. It seems obvious to me that we would carry much more of a threat over the course of a game with such a significant augmentation of the options, both in the starting line-up and on the bench. At our level, with the aspirations we have, you can’t have too many decent Championship players. Becchio may not have made the grade, quite, at top level – though he’s hardly been given a chance – but in the second tier, he’s proven quality. What’s more, he would be absolutely champing at the bit. Post 30 years old, he will hear the clock ticking – and he will wish to make his mark while he can. Familiar surroundings at Elland Road would most likely bring out the best of Becchio.
Happy 30th birthday, Luci’. Here’s hoping we see you back to your best in the famous white shirt again soon. Now bring on those scornful dismissive comments, do your worst. But please – let me hear from those of you who know what you’re talking about too…