The Blighty Report, Vol 2

Tue, 6 Apr 2004 15h

Dear Nooners,

I am sure most of you have been impatiently waiting for my periodical, and badly delayed, England football report. Suffer no more, the report has arrived.

For those few of you who don't vividly remember my last report, it went along these main lines: my team sucks, the weather sucks, the league sucks. Unless your idea of a good time is waking up early on a frigid Sunday morning to battle it out in the rain, wind and mud with a bunch of badly hungover yobs, recreational football in the UK has not got much to offer.

Well, that was the year before. This year things definitely changed. They got much worse. Our team descended into hitherto unplumbed depths of incompetence and sheer ridiculousness -- after clocking results such as 1-7 losses we finished rock-bottom of the 3rd division and were relegated. The weather was horrid, with a late winter almost as bad as a Canadian late spring -- I don't remember experiencing one week of daily hailstorms before (Hell! Another hailstorm has started just as I am typing this.). Finally, my own form has dipped so badly (and you all remember what a paragon of consistency I was) that I shamefully concluded the first goalless season of my career.

Excuses could be made and extenuating circumstances could be found, but nothing can change the fact that next season we are facing an uphill struggle in the 4th division, which is much like the 3rd except that the tackling is harsher, the hangovers more severe and the opposition genuinely bloodthirsty. The fact that we are 'the university pooftahs', as always, is neither endearing nor intimidating to such opposition.

But one must confront reality with a stiff upper lip and reach the inevitable conclusion: maybe it is time to quit organized 11-a-side football. And focus on 6-a-side football instead. Because if there was a bright light of hope this season, it was the 6-a-side city tournament, where we managed to reach the finals and lose by an unlucky 1-0. And where ZiDan lived up to the nickname by scoring valuable goals and providing some killer passes. 6-a-side is basically the outdoors version of the Dome league. The teams are much smaller (so much fewer idiots to worry about), the ground is astro (instead of mud, so one can actually control the ball), there is no sliding allowed (so no bone-smashing tackling) and the ball is usually played on the ground (so no mid-air collisions). All in all, it's a much better proposition.

More details concerning the above will be answered by myself in person when I visit Kingston in the first week of June. I would also like to showcase my well honed British football skills but, as they are mostly variations on the same theme of studs-up-slide-tackling, I'm afraid they fall outside of the 'no-sliding' rule.

See you all soon,