I was, as quite a few others, going to write a post on how Anton was measuring up compared to the boys in our new defensive line. But as the game turned out to be the stage for two other West Ham Academy players I feel uneasy doing so. I still have, shall we call it, “feelings” for Anton.
Anton was, in a sense, always unlucky to be the kid brother of Rio – a player that stood out in any group even at boy level according to the ones that saw him at the time, but apparently Anton was never that dominant as a boy.
I was hoping for Anton to develop into a more mature player, but while he was a West Ham player I was always slightly worried with him in the center of defense. Now, as I am a generally worried person I was trying not to read too much into that feeling. Antons “absentmindedness” was always slightly disturbing, and I can only think of one period when I was really pleased with him and that’s when he played alongside Gabbidon in the 06/07 season. That’s when I think he showed what he could become.
At the time of his departure last summer I was as dumbfounded as anybody. Unfortunately that was at a time when Bubbleview didn’t exist so I don’t have anything written down on the matter, but I know that even though I couldn’t see the logic at the time, there was no feeling of disgust in the manner that filled me at the time of the departure of his big brother and the others in that “Brat pack”.
In some interviews during the run-up to the Sunderland game Anton commented on coming back to the Boleyn in very emotional words and laying it on quite thick, leaving me with a feeling that he actually is homesick! After Sbragia singled out Anton as handing us the Tomkins goal, something I feel is a bit harsh myself, it doesn’t feel right to go on about us being better off without him, although that is my uncontroversial feeling, especially with Tomkins seemingly turning the corner from prodigy to mature player as we speak. Let's hope Anton can fulfill his footballing dreams, whatever they are.