If I was a footballer, my name would be Michel Vorm

by Victor Kirubi

My fondest memory of Vorm will always be that Liverpool 1-1 draw in 2016, where he kept us in the match as Coutinho threatened to run riot.

Ambition is a curious thing. Everyone thinks they should have it and yet they say, it’s the hope that kills you. Michel Vorm could never be described as a footballer with unfulfilled potential or a person with great ambition. Vorm was a wonderful servant for Tottenham Hotspur having spent five of his best years at the club. He could easily have been a first choice keeper at a mid-tier club. Signed to carry the weight of expectations and ambitions of fan and manager. But Vorm chose to be a backup to a younger, more experienced club and country captain even when his talent screamed for more.

Joining the club as a 29-year-old and choosing to spend his best goalkeeping years at Tottenham, it was clear from the get-go that this was the best he could hope for and yet he stayed. There was barely a whiff of a disgruntled murmur or an unresolved transfer saga. Even a made-up one by a bored agent with greedy intentions. Vorm seemed content with a backup role that was clearly the peak of his career. 

My fondest memory of Vorm will always be that Liverpool 1-1 draw in 2016, where he kept us in the match as Coutinho threatened to run riot. After some of Lloris’ more shocking performances, there would always be some calls for the captain to be dropped only for Vorm to remind us what an average goalkeeping performance looks like. But save for a few critical reviews from a rare poor performance, he went about his role quietly and effectively. Safe but not elite, assured but not overconfident. I suspect he had a preferred spot on the bench at White Hart Lane with his name on it and a hair product stain on the headrest.

Free from the expectation of waiting to come on to change a losing scoreline or to close out a narrow lead. Free from the pressure of yearning for minutes in the hope of catching the manager’s eye and perhaps unseat an incumbent. Michel Vorm had the best seat in the entire stadium and the best footballing job in the world.

A lot of young players coming into the game with big dreams of being the next trophy-laden superstar can learn something from Vorm. Contentment is a wonderful thing. I am no psychologist, but Vorm struck me as someone deeply aware of how lucky he was to be a premiership footballer. He was by no means lazy and looking for a free paycheck because, by all accounts, he constantly pushed Lloris in training and had a hand in his eventual replacement’s growth.

And so Vorm went out as he came in, without too much fanfare. He was signed as a makeweight to a Sigurdsson sale alongside Ben Davies in a move that felt like the ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ of transfer deals. As he was released from the club this summer, he was listed among others; academy players that didn’t quite meet the grade and perhaps with shattered dreams. I like to think that Vorm was glad it was all finally over. 

Michel taught us that life is not always special and you should take it in stride. A familiar name but not a famous face. If Vorm was a striker, he’d have loved to still be playing at Tottenham. Well behind Harry in the pecking order; untrusted by fans or mostly forgotten. Not bad enough to be sold but not good enough to bring too much attention to himself. This is difficult to achieve in any other position besides goalkeeper and I suspect this is how he chose his career.

It’s ok to be like Michel Vorm. 5 years – 47 appearances – 17 clean sheets. Remember him. But not too much, because that’s the way he would like it.

Author

Victor Kirubi

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