Comment: Saints’ superhero swoops in to save us

Sean Shields' loan at St Albans City was extended after an anonymous funded the move. Picture: Bob W

Sean Shields' loan at St Albans City was extended after an anonymous funded the move. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

Much like the residents of Gotham City, fans at Clarence Park seemingly have their own caped crusader looking out for their wellbeing.

But while Batman rids his city of the Joker, St Albans City’s unknown hero has, at least temporarily, saved the club’s fans from a far greater evil: Sean Shields’ departure.

The Saints announced on Monday than a fan had stumped up the cash to keep the Dagenham and Redbridge dynamo around, extending the original two-month agreement by another 30 days.

The day has been saved.

At this point in the season, St Albans City without Shields is a scary thought. The 22-year-old has scored in each of the last three games and poses a genuine threat every time he touches the ball.

No other player in the squad combines his pace, skill and eye for goal. Yes, City have other very good players, James Comley and Lee Chappell for instance, but you can feel a sense of expectation and excitement from the fans, and fear from the opposition, every time Shields has the ball at his feet: that’s what he brings to the team.

Perhaps more importantly, the mystery fan – let’s call them Bruce Wayne – has saved the fans from the alternative.

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With Shields in the squad, joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds can play John Frendo up front on his own with support from the wingers – Shields, Steve Wales or David Keenleyside.

And it’s working. In games when Wales, who seemingly can’t stop scoring, and Shields both find the net, St Albans have a 100 per cent record, admittedly it’s only two games but it’s a stat that backs up what I’m saying so go with it.

Without Shields, they would likely switch to a 4-4-2 with ‘Giant’ Geoff Mitchell or the currently on loan Loick Pires supporting Frendo. While both have battled injuries that have slowed their development at the club, neither has shown the eye for goal that Shields has in a City shirt, or the ability to put a defender on their heels.

I know which formation I’d prefer to see.

And so I’d like to say thank you to City’s superhero – out there doing what is right, not for the plaudits but just because it’s the right thing to do – I may not know your identity but I’d glad you’re there, watching over my team.