The former Liverpool goal-scorer has 21 goals in 18 games in the youthful APL. It was he who helped score against Barcelona

There were no academies for 19th-century clubs to place boys around the pitch to serve balls. Or rather, there was one ball at first, so every time it went off the field, they had to run after it, sometimes even far away. Legend has it that the practice of introducing assistants from among the children watching matches was popularized by the legendary goalkeeper of Sheffield United and the now derelict Chelsea, Mr. William Fulk. His outstanding size – he weighed over 150 kilograms – made him the most prominent in the squad.

Fascinating stories about guys pitching balls

But with such a weight the goalkeeper had no desire to run after the ball which often found itself outside the pitch. We chose two children to serve him the balls. At the same time intimidated opponents, because against the background of boys Fulk seemed impassable obstacle to attackers. And keep in mind the time – the beginning of the 20th century. Recall that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ironically believed in spirits and spiritualism. We should not evaluate the superstitiousness and fearfulness of people from a century ago with the new times. The 193-cm Fulk was feared by his rivals, and legends were made about him. Then the practice of putting boys on the line proved to be “contagious,” bolboys appeared to everyone.

A meeting of tough world champions in Naples

Fabio Cannavaro was born in Naples, so it is not surprising that his favorite club was Napoli. And when the team was Maradona, the future world champion was fired by the desire to surpass his father Pasquale, who played soccer only at amateur level, and worked as a clerk in a bank. Fabio, despite his short stature, dreamed of becoming a defender. He was spotted by Napoli scouts and invited to the club’s school. The guy often served goals at matches, so Maradona and Ferrara, who were singled out of that squad, met often.

At first Cannavaro was seen as a central midfielder in the style of Marco Tardelli from Juventus, but later he moved to defense. Fabio legend has it that he met Maradona at school when Diego visited his institution. Allegedly the playmaker recognized Cannavaro and even played a little ball. It’s not a fact that this is true. But the other story is real: a couple of years later Fabio was forbidden to play rough against Diego in training, but the Argentine allowed serious tutelage. As a reward for his cool play, Fabio received Maradona’s cleats. Cannavaro even celebrated the 1987 Scudetto with the team as a bolbo. He is in the historical photos next to Diego.

Azar’s provocateur has built a successful business

Of course, not all guys who attend the soccer schools of the grandees become famous players. For example, many remember when Eden Azar went ballistic in a game against Souncy in 2013. In the 79th minute of the match, seventeen-year-old Charlie Morgan was stalling for time, and Azar tried to snatch the ball from the teenager and then also kicked it out from under the kid. Let’s not lie, Charlie turned out to be a provocateur – he embellished the physical pain after the Belgian’s aggression. But hitting kids, even if they’re almost adults, is the last thing on earth.

After the match, Charlie found himself in the Chelsea locker room and made up with Azar. Both acted unwise as the lad was clearly proud of the way he was faking and stalling for time. That’s why Eden was only given a three match suspension, not more. In the end, Charlie Morgan didn’t become a footballer, not enough talent for the son of the Souncy boss. Instead, he used his father’s money to start a company selling high-end vodka. Gold bottles, advertising through Floyd Mayweather, a drink for the rich. During the pandemic, Charlie got very rich, sales increased thousands of times.

Dinner with the team as a reward for helping Mourinho

Jose, of course, is not an easy guy. But his attitude to children has always been dignified. Mourinho ran away from celebrating his Champions League victory with Porto because his family had received death threats the day before. To this day, although his son and daughter are adults, José has an incredibly warm relationship with his heirs. And the young Roma forward Felix Afena-Ghian was presented with €800 sneakers by the Portuguese after his double in the first team. Mourinho always got on well with children and teenagers.

And when Callum Hines, a dummy, quickly served the ball from the spot in the game between Tottenham and Olympiacos, which helped Spurs win in the end, José singled him out as the game progressed. After the match, the kid from the club’s school ended up at the team dinner. Cool story, because Hines can grow into a professional. For example, Suarez knows De Ligt from his Ajax days – Matthijs served him goals. And Eto’o celebrated a hat-trick for Chelsea against Manchester United with 13-year-old Hudson-Odoi, who was a goal-scorer at that game and was eerily excited about the attention.

Oakley Canonnier wants to be a Liverpool star

Perhaps the corner kick in the Liverpool-Barcelona match is the most famous corner kick in soccer history. And Alexander-Arnold would never have been able to send the ball to Origi in time without a reaction from the guy behind the goal. Trent got the ball to the right spot right away. He was able to fake his way to the sideline and then sharply served up a corner kick as Oakley Cannonier sent him a spare ball and gave him those precious seconds. Of course, anyone else could have been in the boy’s shoes, but the story has a sequel.

Oakley is now seventeen years old, but he already has 21 goals in 18 games in the junior AFL as an eighteen-year-old. He has also played in the equivalent of the Champions League for young players – last week Liverpool crashed out against Juventus in the quarterfinals. Canonnier is getting practice, signing his first professional contract last year. “The Reds are happy with the guy, who used to play for Leeds’ academy. Oakley has been training with the main squad this year, and Klopp specifically approached him in class and thanked him for that pitch.

Canonnier is a center forward, so it’s no surprise that in all his interviews he talks about wanting to grow from a former ballboy into a professional Liverpool player. Who knows, maybe he will become a soccer star like Cannavaro? First Fabio served balls to the brilliant and miserable Maradona, and later he won the Mundial and won the Ballon d’Or.