The Warhol maxim came true for Ian Stafford last night, even if 15 minutes
under the Goodison floodlights doesn't amount to fame in everybody's book.
That he only touched the ball a couple of times won't matter in years to
come. Journalistic licence will look after that and, in any case, it's the
taking part that counts.
With a quarter of an hour remaining of Everton's 1-0 friendly win over Manchester
City, assistant boss Archie Knox turned to one of Soccernet's contributors
and told him he was about to replace Kevin Campbell, the £3M striker
whom the club had spent most of the previous four months trying to buy.
Pressure? Well, it would have been worse had the 11,561 crowd not been told
at half-time that one of the Everton substitutes is in fact a journalist
working on a book rather than any notion of getting himself into the starting
XI for the opening fixture against European champions Manchester United.
Campbell, you see, is something of a folk hero in those parts after
single-handedly ensuring Everton's Premiership status during a loan spell
'I was a bit worried coming on for him after what he did last season,' an
aching Stafford said this morning. 'But I wasn't nervous really. The adrenaline
was pumping but I was okay.
'Kevin gave me the high fives as we changed places and as soon as I ran out
on to the pitch I was a footballer, not a journalist.
'It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I woke up this morning and it was
difficult to believe I'd actually done it. It was only when I saw the bandages
on my feet that I knew it was for real.
'The pitch was like a bowling green and the 15 minutes flew by, I couldn't
believe it when the referee blew his whistle. Unfortunately I hardly saw
the ball and my first touch was a bad one.
'I was up front on the right and Danny Cadamarteri, who came on at the same
time, passed to me. I had my back to goal on the edge of the box and figured
he'd move down the right flank to receive it back.
'He didn't though... and the ball rolled rather feebly out to touch.'
Crowd reaction? 'There was an audible sigh and Danny just came up to me an
said 'keep it simple'. I don't think it was entirely my fault but I can hardly
say it was his either.'
Stafford was buzzing at the recollections now. 'I had a good old scrap with
City's defender Andy Morrison, a great lump of a centre half. We had a couple
of great tussles for the ball, really physical. He stood on my finger, which
'It was amazing to hear City's defenders screaming at each other to have
me marked. Ah, yes, there was one chance, too. Peter Degn had the ball on
the right. I was level with the near post in completely open space. If he'd
cut it back I would have been in with a great chance of scoring but he crossed
it to far post and it was cleared.
'Who knows if he'd have passed it to me? Of course, I might have made a right
mess of it.
'Before the game the players were asking me if I was feeling nervous, almost
insisting that I must be. It was the same as the moment approached for me
to go on.
'I was sitting next to Alex Cleland on the bench and he kept looking at me.
The players had said that if they were the ones who were substituted for
me they'd hand in a transfer request.
'I don't think there was much danger of that.'
Stafford, who said he couldn't believe how enthusiastically he was received
back in the dressing room after seeing so little of the ball, awaits manager
Walter Smith's comments on his performance later today.
'I don't think they'll be too encouraging but I'd say he was quite relieved
it wasn't an unmitigated disaster!'
The occasion really belonged to John Ebbrell, whose testimonial it was last
night. The former Everton midfielder, an FA Cup winner four years ago, has
been forced to retire early because of injury.
But Stafford will never forget it either. As for the fame... if only Degn
had found him inside the box.