Friday, October 19, 2007

Ten thoughts on...playing football

St Paul’s Scotforth – semi final at the Easter Field. I loved playing for my primary school team in my last year, but not the year before. I was bullied and nagged at by knobs like Ian Chippendale and Duncan Fraser, and the team was crap. The next year we were much better and got to the semi-final of the annual Easter Field at Giant Axe, which was good for one of the smaller schools.

College – We didn’t play football at school and I pretty much gave up proper organised football after that. Kicking about never does you any good for the real game as I found out at FE college. I played for the second team a few times and really enjoyed it. We were a great side and had Ian Stevens playing for us who went on to be journeyman pro and is now with Bacup Borough. Link to his career is here.

The University years – I had a shocking time playing at University and really paid the price for wasted teenage years. I turned out for Cath Soc a couple of times. I did however turn out for Manchester Football Supporters Association against Merseyside in a charity game for Alder Hey at Marine FC. I was marked out of the game by Mike Lyons and Terry Darracott.

Roverrrs, first time, the best of times – my best ever goal v Doncaster. Pitching up in London I turned out for BRASIL – the Blackburn Rovers Away Supporters In London. We were all Rovers fans, give or take the odd ringer. Sometimes we were really thrashed, by Celtic, Rangers and – awful, awful – Burnley - and it was just dreadful. But we also had our moments too and I formed some great friendships. I scored a freak goal from the half way line against Doncaster Rovers, who were all Irish lads from Acton - at Hurlingham Park, Fulham, which was nice and I will remember that for the rest of my life.

Best celeb I ever played with - our winger was Neil Arthur, pop star and top lad. Our midfield general was PC Pat Whittle – Bad Lieutentant – who once famously told Neil - “Get Blancmange back together, Neil: there’s always room in the charts for a couple of puffs with a synthesizer.” He asked me: “Why do you play up front? You couldn’t score in a barrel of fannies.”

Best ever tour. In 1990 We went on a tour to Devon, staying in Brixham and playing at Brixham Town, a park in Torquay and finally at Exeter City FC. Great fun, but we didn't win a game.

Dirtiest ever side played – Rotherham United London Supporters Club. None of them from Rotherham, just a vile set of cockney thugs.

Dirtiest side ever played for – Wansdyke, circa 1994. When I lived in Bristol I played for these after an invite from a mate, Darren Hook, who promptly left them. A vile set of racist thugs. Some good players mind.

Roverrrs, second time around. When I moved back to London I played for Roverrrrs (BRASIL) and an outfit of social workers and media types called Shepherds Tuesday. Got found out and was forced to choose – I chose Roverrrs, obviously. Different set up, woman manager – Margaret Reid – and some young players. We’d also been relegated so instead of getting thrashed we’d play some competitive games. I also dropped to full back and did much better with the ball coming at me. We got to a cup final where we were beaten by Wrexham, who were all black lads from south London, managed by a fat lad from Ruabon called Dave.

Best player ever played with. My mate Rick Ogden, who now lives in Japan, was an awesome centre half, especially for a little fellah. I played with him twice for different friendly teams.

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