Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ghost of Stanfield's drop from Katz's boot to face

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The ghost of Bob Stanfield is hovering over the mayor's office this week, after an errant kick on a soccer field left the normally smooth Sam Katz wishing he had merely placed his foot in his mouth.

The late Stanfield was a federal Progressive Conservative leader who was renowned for his honesty but known best for dropping a football during the 1974 election campaign - and looking like a bungler on the front page of Canadian newspapers the following day.

Stanfield lost the election to Pierre Trudeau and some pundits suggested his ball-handling skills were to blame. Political handlers have used the Stanfield photo as an object lesson ever since, even though it's arguably impossible to maintain a perfect image in the era of cellphone photos and YouTube videos.

Katz had his Stanfield moment this Monday, when he took part in a soccer game that pitted elected officials and city staff against a group of refugee kids. After missing a ball, the mayor accidentally booted one of his young opponents in the head.

The player recovered quickly and Katz received a yellow card. But the real damage occurred when Global TV footage of the kick aired first on television and then began making the social-media rounds.

On Tuesday, the mayor shrugged off his fancy footwork, noting the player he booted was OK and everyone who took part in the game enjoyed themselves.

Everyone, that is, except for community services director Clive Wightman, who fractured a finger in the same match, the mayor said.

And perhaps St. Vital Coun. Gord Steeves, who appears in the Global footage to have strained several facial muscles moments after Katz's high kick.

 

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 25, 2010 A3

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