Sunday, 16 September 2012


"The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought, with some reason, that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. But the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." - Albert Camus

I often find myself, during games, sliding into a deep trance as Dave's hypnotic hips turn him round and round in ever smaller circles. I get a better vantage point than most, a few yards behind him and about ten to his side, but I'm told wherever you are on the pitch, it's a beautiful sight.

"Look at that!" I think to myself, while I'm probably meant to be doing something useful.

But the joy doesn't last long, because nine times out of ten, Dave's endeavors will have been in vain and then he will scowl. Or swear in Italian, while doing that thing that Italians do where they look like they're holding an imaginary hand puppet up to their chin. Then, I feel guilty for my pleasure, like I've just been applauding an elephant that can walk on its hind legs, only to notice tears in it's eyes.

At moments like these, I remember the legend of King Sisyphus and feel like the sort of fool who applauds each journey up the hill, entirely missing the point that I am witnessing a man condemned to eternal torture. But then tonight I came across that quote from Camus and I thought 'well, at least Dave is consumed by an emotion strong enough to make him feel alive'. This is not a consolation as such, but I suppose I can rest easy knowing that on some level, Dave's soul is at peace.

So yeah, we played football earlier, a cup match against a side from the league below us. It was alright, a good game. We were a bit cocky beforehand, I  heard someone say "Yeah, they're shit, but we're not good at playing shit teams, we might only beat them four nil or something."

So, we were looking pretty stupid when they took the lead early in the first half from a 25 yard speculative half volley. It got worse and we had to ride out a 15 minute period when we were almost totally incapable of making even the simplest passes to each other. We did well to stay in the game and our stand in keeper, Jim, did brilliantly to tip a header over the bar from one of their many corners.

Then, for no particular reason, SBFC remembered that it is easier to score goals if you pass the ball to people on the same team as you. We finished the first half much improved from the first half of the first half because in the second half of the first half we were better than we were in the beginning of the first half which was the beginning of the match when we weren't playing so well.

A constructive half time brought about a slight rejig of the midfield and an agreement to get the ball wider, faster. This strategy of the midfielders passing it to the attackers who then kick the ball into the goal reaped immediate dividends. Something weird happened up there between Colin and Steff which ended up with the ball in the net. It's hard for me to give more details (please feel free to add your comments below), I was quite a long way away.

1-1 became 2-1, mainly because we then scored another goal. Raj Chande ran on to an HCC clearance ten yards inside their half and slid a no-look reverse pass to an unmarked Steff who took one touch and finished with aplomb. It was a lovely goal and would have looked fantastic from the camera that they usually keep just inside the post.

The game then turned a bit scrappy and SBFC probably should have scored another. SBFC defended well, Sam Bebbington made an excellent defensive header with about 20 minutes left. There was a lot of long-ball-back-and-forth nonsense and that's when Dave started getting a bit annoyed, but these things happen Dave. These things happen.

Then came the most important moment of the match. HCC won a corner with one minute left on the clock. The keeper came up. THE KEEPER CAME UP! God it was exciting. It was a damned good corner too, flat and with pace, but Sam Hayhurst rose above the crowd and headed it to the edge of the box to Steff, who headed it on to Sam Greenwood, who then ran the length of pitch just about slowly enough for their keeper to get back to his goal, before sliding the ball into the net.

3-1, SBFC go through to the next round.

The End.

SBFC 3 City South Farm 4

This match report comes a week late for a few reasons, but mainly because every time I remember this game I smash my face against a wall until I pass out.

First things first, City South Farm are good at what they do. They had a plan, they all knew what it was and they played to their strengths. So rigidly did they follow this plan that I spent the vast majority of the time I was on the pitch looking up at the sky as the ball sailed over my head towards their red faced front man.

Indeed, their first goal was an excellent header to a cross brilliantly delivered from the half way line. I'm not sure anyone could have saved that, let alone our makeshift keeper James Carnevale (who did a great job in goal in the first half).

St Bernadette's recovered well though I don't remember much of it now, maybe the repeated self-inflicted concussions to block out the memory of the defeat are to blame for that. But I do remember Colin Clements scoring an excellent goal to make it 2-1 to the good guys before the half time break.

The second half was a load of boring bullshit. City South Farm played one long ball after another and swore a lot. Occasionally, the ball would ricochet into the St Bernadette's goal, but their goals were as much 'goals' as Chris Moyles' autobiography is a 'book'. Sure, all the components of a book are there. Words. Sentences. Pages that turn over to reveal yet more words and sentences. But, if you were in any way responsible for the creation of those pages, you'd have to immediately kill yourself by swallowing a cocktail of broken glass, bleach and shit.

We did score a third, but I was looking the other way so I don't even know what happened really.

Wasn't all bad though. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and I went to play a few games of ping pong and watch Dredd and it was alright I suppose though it's a shame they got locked in the building and that because it was interesting until then but maybe they will do that more in the sequel and also I won at ping pong.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

DKL Athletic 2 SBFC 6

Questions. Questions. SBFC had questions to answer. Not the sort of question that a striker must ask of the keeper in a one-on-one situation. No, different questions to those. After Steffan Cole's controversial resignation following his unfortunate outburst on the disabled, reincarnation and karma, how would his successor Sam Hayhurst cope on his competitive managerial debut? How long would it take for the club's new signings to adapt to SBFC's passing ethos? Why is Bailey always naked?

Today, those questions were answered. Except the last one.

The pitch was not suited to SBFC's sophisticated playing style. Sure, in Sunday League football, the odd divot is to be expected. But this afternoon, the entire pitch was just one big divot, itself made up of thousands of smaller divots. The altitude drop from the touchline to the centre circle was so dramatic that several players complained of their ears popping during the revamped warm up. But warm up they did.

Indeed, the all new warm up (which introduced the revolutionary concept of kicking the ball about a bit before the game actually started) immediately reaped dividends. DKL Athletic could only gawp on like the sort of simpletons who still point at aeroplanes as SBFC pinged the ball round the pitch with precision, enthusiasm and verve. DKL didn't take it lying down though and came up with the master strategy of appealing for "HANDBALL!!!" every 15 seconds.

Surprisingly, the one-dimensional tactic of repeatedly claiming free-kicks failed to repel the SBFC onslaught and some tidy build up play led to Andrew Morris shimmying into the penalty box and squaring for Colin Clements to score SBFC's first goal of the season. Andrew Morris then added a second after some majestic centre-forward play from Ben Wyatt. Perhaps it's lazy for me to exploit Wyatt's obvious physical resemblance to the big Ivorian, but it was a truly Drogba-esque bit of play.

I'm not sure exactly when DKL scored their first half goal (to make it 2-1 or 3-1?), but I'm not really going to talk about it anyway because it was shit. But, I had a lovely view of our third. I'm not quite sure why Colin was running towards me with the ball, but what a sight it was. Colin then dinked a left foot pass 20 yards, between 4 DKL players and into the path of Mike Malay who calmly slotted home. Sure, we all would have preferred it if he'd headed it home, but it was still pretty good.


The 2nd Half started with something of a spirited fightback from DKL who really upped their intensity. The "HANDBALL!!!" appeals were coming in thick and fast and tempers started to fray after a counterattacking Colin Clements refused to accept that he had run the ball out of play. The game and the human race as a whole was brought into disrepute as Colin petulantly kicked the ball a good 50 yards away.

"I thought you whistled to say I should play on ref." smiled Colin.

"He didn't think that. He's a fucking liar." said their slightly dimwitted number 9.

DKL then nicked another and in fairness, they deserved it. SBFC need to find a way to cope with that kind of pressure, we just can't allow teams to keep appealing for "HANDBALL!!!" like that. As SBFC resumed the game, Raj Chande did what he does best and shouted some non-specific encouragement about 'concentration' and 'work-rates'. By golly did SBFC listen. No sooner had DKL pulled the game back to 3-2 than SBFC had restored the 2 goal margin which they had had previously in the half and also in the 1st half when they had been winning 2-0 which was what was happening earlier before this bit.

And what a goal it was. Birthday boy David Amesbury and his perfectly square torso collected the ball deep into the DKL half, turned round and round in semi-circles before burying a left foot shot into the bottom right hand corner. DKL heads went down. DKL went quiet. DKL thought 'fuck this'.

Then some other stuff happened but this is already quite long so I'm going to start winding it down. James Carnevale marked his debut with a goal, which is the only appropriate way to mark a debut really. Andrew Morris scored another goal from distance which isn't worth discussing in great detail because from where I was standing it looked like the keeper caught in and threw it into the goal.

I haven't yet mentioned the Man of the Match, Ellis Jones, who started the game at Left Back, moved to Right Back and then ended up at Right Wing. He was bloody brilliant everywhere, composed on the ball and hard working without it. Ellis Jones is an example to us all and I am going to name all of my children Ellis Jones, regardless of their gender or how many I have and how confusing it gets.

Later in the dressing room, Bailey was naked and there was some banter and everyone laughed and we all said 'well played' to each other and it was nice and then I went home and ate some chicken and some rice and some broccoli.