The Guv'nor

A brilliant article on our captain Jacob Burns.

I felt compelled to put pen to paper and write about JBurns: The Guv-nor. In a time when the football society detests divers and play acting, we have a player who epitomises everything that could be asked for in a modern day professional. But he is still criticised. A leader, a warrior, a role model and he can play.

We both received our education at the Sydney United School of Football. Driving to King Tomislav as young professionals with wide-eyed dreams and youthful hope. Hard work, respect and playing football the right way were the key pillars to the way football was taught at United. Our professors who educated us on the pitch were Popovic, Lamond, Genc, Milicic and the great Kresimir Marusic. We learnt not just how to play football the right way, but how to be professional footballers. The Jake you see today is a little different to the one from back in the day. Damn, he could run for days, tackle, get box to box and just always seemed to be everywhere. Today he has made the “Centrocampista” role his own, he doesn-t have to run all day anymore because he knows where to move, how to break up play and his passing is one of the most complete in the league. But the common ingredient in his DNA that has been left in tact, is his will to win.

I wonder sometimes - do people actually watch games? I mean actually watch games to see what players are doing. Not just the highlights package of a bad challenge or a bullet from thirty metres into the top corner. Sometimes it-s the pieces of play that don-t make the highlight reel that are most important. The short three metre passes, moving the ball from one side to another, holding up an attack whilst your teamates get back in defence, putting a foot in to win a ball that most couldn-t and inspiring your team when they are down and out. Those things are JB, week in, week out. Out of all our past Socceroos that have come back to the A-League, take a look at who has had the most impact on their club. Not just on the field, but off as well. A leader that commands the respect of his peers. I-ve noticed the media continually bring up JB-s cards and tackles. It seems there is a reputation that proceeds him before he steps on the field. But if you asked most players in the league if they wanted Jake on their team or against, 99% would want to line up with him on the pitch.

In football hard work, passion and dedication get you to a certain level. To reach the next the level you have to be able to play. Back in the day just breaking into the Sydney United team was the biggest challenge and if you couldn-t play football, you didn-t get into the first team, simple. Jake forced his way into the first team, through sheer determination and ability. What followed has been a storybook career. From when he set off to Leeds to play in the Champions League against Madrid and Figo, JB has had a career that ascended him through various European leagues. Representing the Socceroos over ten times, he returned home to skipper the Glory and ended just a penalty away from winning the A-League. Coming runner-up to Thomas Broich for the Joe Marston Medal for best on ground in the GF (my bad, he won that). A career like this is achieved through a lot of hard work, but also and inherent ability to play, sheer talent.

To see someone that you grew up with achieve greatness is inspiring. A young kid from Greenacre to El Capitano of the Glory. Our game is crying out for role models for the young players to aspire to and JB is that person - a modern day leader and complete professional. The man I see today is not so different to the kid I used to cruise to training with listening to hip hop. Respectful, loyal, dedicated, hard working and a class act. But one thing-s for sure, the kid can play. Watch him for a minute, you-ll see….