The other day I wrote an emotional tribute to Andrew Flintoff. Fred was a massive player for England, and it has to be said, one of my favourites. Normally I can knock out a half-arsed blog in 15/20 minutes, but the Freddie tribute took a long time. I had so much to say about him, and it all flowed out in one massive fandom eulogy.
It's been a very different story with Ryan Sidebottom. I'm not quite sure what it is about him, but he doesn't push my buttons. He's taken loads of wickets for England at a great average, but there's just something about him.
Maybe it's his supposed lack of effort in the field or his anger towards fielders who misfield off him. But these could be explained as a simple aging fast bowlers lack of athleticism, and passion for the side.
Sidey was a player who at times in 2008 was one of the best in the world. Catapulted from obscurity thanks to a Hoggard injury in 2007, he returned to the international arena after one solitary test, before cementing his place in Peter Moores' side. With his late left-arm swing, he tormented New Zealand home and away, with Jacob Oram calling him the hardest bowler he'd ever faced.
Ryan was never going to be any great shakes in the field, or with the bat, but nobody can deny that he always gave 100% in every game for England. As well as taking wickets at under 25 in tests, he was England's most underrated one day death bowler, and an integral part of the World T20 winning side.
While I was never his biggest fan, and never really campaigned for his place in the side, today England lost a true fighter, and a man who never let England down. While he was never my favourite player (or Grant Elliot's), Ryan Sidebottom was a great asset to English cricket. Probably knowing he wasn't to make the Ashes squad, Ryan bowed out today with the dignity he deserved, and will be remembered with fondness and respect.
And what about the hair!