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Six degrees of separation: From Berahino to Johnston

24 November 2015

The route from England to Scotland via Augusta

YES, I know Albion are better known for the Three Degrees, but for the purposes of this game, we’re going to prove the idea that by six simple steps, everyone on earth can be connected to everyone else, a bit like a superglue experiment gone wrong. 

Today, we will be tracing the lineage that goes from our goalscoring tyro Saido Berahino to Scottish international genius Willie Johnston…

If stats are your bag, young SAIDO BERAHINO has some impressive ones – 32 goals in 59 starts and 32 substitute appearances. Berahino has been blazing a trail for the work done by the Albion Academy over the last decade and is a striker with every chance of becoming a bona fide superstar of the game in the years to come. 

As we all know, Saido’s backstory is a difficult one, stretching back to his family’s need to flee from their native Burundi as the country was wracked by civil war. In more harmonious times, back in the 1980s, it was a country making cultural waves, not least in the rock world, courtesy of the ROYAL DRUMMERS OF BURUNDI, an extraordinary percussion ensemble who made real waves in the World Music movement, playing at Peter Gabriel’s Womad festival in 1982.

The Burundi drummers had previously played with Joni Mitchell on her “The Hissing Of Summer Lawns” album. They joined Echo & the Bunnymen on stage in ’82 and were a big influence on the likes of Adam & The Ants and Bow Wow Wow but perhaps their best known work in the West came in 1987 when they featured on the single “ROCKET” by Sheffield’s hard rock band Def Leppard, then enjoying a spell as one of the biggest musical acts on the planet. 

Rocket is, of course, the nickname given to perhaps the greatest snooker player of all time, RONNIE O’SULLIVAN, though whether he is quicker than Alex “Hurricane” Higgins or Jimmy “Whirlwind” White is up for debate. A five time World Champion, O’Sullivan really announced himself on the snooker scene in 1995 when, just 69 days after his 19th birthday, he became the youngest winner of the Masters title.

It’s an odd thing that many sports carry a competition called the Masters in their seasons, although possibly the most famous of them all is the US MASTERS, the first of golf’s majors each season, played at he impeccably manicured National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, the elite of the world game competing not for silverware but for a garish green jacket that, fortunately, they can’t ever take away with them but must leave behind them in the locker room, to be worn just once a year. 

Over the years, the Masters has thrown up some extraordinary golf and some incredible head to head battles. Some of its greatest moments have come at AMEN CORNER, a stretch that goes from the second shot on the 11th through to the first two shots on the 13th, a part of the course where titles have often been won and lost. So significant is it that broadcasters often give viewers the option to watch coverage of just those three holes alone. 

Woodman Corner is, of course, a little bit different to Amen Corner, but no less significant. In years gone by, it has been the scene of a commercial transaction or two for it was here that, once upon a time, in between taking corners, one player bought himself a greenhouse from a bloke in the crowd. Who else would do such a thing but the sublime WILLIE JOHNSTON?

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