Trinidad and Tobago striker Stern John is not the fastest striker around in the game. He may have decent pace and have a knack for scoring goals. But comparing him to TnT trackstar Marc Burns would be out of the question. Won't it?
"Yeah, but I used to remember beating him in the races some years ago," John said with a laugh while hanging his arms around Marc's shoulders on the track at the Hasely Crawford Stadium recently.
That was then, maybe as Marc was still deciding what his career should be based around. Now, the two would still consider racing each other but John would only laugh at such gesture, aware now that he'd be burnt. No doubt he would prefer having defenders Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole chasing after him when Birmingham City take on Arsenal in the Premiership opener on August 18 at Highbury.
Stern and Marc are first cousins which is a relationship the striker always boast about.
As for Marc, he's happy to know Stern and describes their relationship as a close one.
"It's just a case of carrying on the sportsmanship trend that the family has. Stern and I are very close. We always enjoy each others company once he's around or I am," said Marc as he and track partner Daryl Browne spent some time "chillin" with Stern before a light session last month.
"Since I was at Junior Sec I could remember thinking to myself that we would be close and could go on to better things. Stern and my father had a close relationship so he used to be at our house on a regular basis. We came from a humble family. There are so many distractions out there but we just try to put our best foot forward I am glad to see that he's continued his work and has now reached to where he is now. I hope he can carry the flag high at Birmingham," added Marc.
The speedster will be backing his cousin all the way when the new Premiership season begins in August.
"Yeah I'm hoping he can score a lot of goals this season and I'll be backing him to do well. I know it's going to be a bit difficult because it's the Premiership but I'm confident he'll do well. I'm not worried about him."
As for Marc, having struck silver in the World Junior Championship in Jamaica, he's hoping to "continue improving".
"I'm just taking things one day at a time. I leave for school in August and I hope to improve both in school and on the track. I hope to run professionally after school and look towards the Olympics as well," he ended.
"Marc has really made me proud. To see him grow up and now doing so well on the tracks and representing the country like me is something to feel proud about," Stern said.
"It's a bright spot for us. He's young and he's doing well already so hopefully we can both keep it up and just keep on representing," added the City star.
Brimingham meanwhile lost their first game of their Scottish tour aganist Marvin Andrews team Livingston yesterday, Birmingham took the lead through a Marvin Andrews own-goal only to be undone by two second-half strikes.
Blues will return to pre-season action against Motherwell this Wednesday, Blues will be aiming to bounce back after suffering their first pre-season defeat when they lost 2-1 to Livingston.