Monday, 23 July 2018


Apologies for the dearth - [I originally typed the word ‘death’ here, which would be more accurate] -of reports recently, but as has become commonplace this season I aim to redress the paucity of Friday night football news with a round-up of the last few weeks of the season, including the valedictory evening for Ross Bicknell.

Here are my field notes from the final game in Ross’s long and illustrious Friday night career:

Ha det bra, Ross!
Two teams as follows:

Blues – Paul, Johnny, Steve, Antonio, Peter, Stan, Tony, Geoff, James

Yellows – me, David, Danny, Simon, Joe, Patrick, Mick, Ian Baggies… and Ross

Goals: Ross came on and got a late one, Patrick snaffled up at least three,

… and that’s as far as I got before the evil world of work took over the time I’d allocated to that particular report.

What I do recall is that I took the highly unusual, nay unprecedented, step of fixing the teams so that the side that Ross was on would prevail; sadly, what I could not predict was the fact that the fey indie shyster would only arrive with about twenty minutes to go. As such, the teams were fairly even for about 60% of the game. However, following his late arrival Ross did manage to get on the scoresheet, although the eventual victory for the Yellow team has to be slightly mitigated by the fact Tony was forced into goal following a groin injury that rendered him, in effect, useless.

This highly partial team selection, coupled with Tony’s chronic man-knack, meant a comfortable win for the Yellows, much to Tony’s (perhaps understandable) chagrin.

Far more memorable were the post-game drinks – see photos below – and the warmly drunken bonhomie with which we wished Ross all the very best for him and his young family. Well played, Ross. We hope to see you again.

Now, over to the Coram Fields jazz correspondent – Big ‘Chuff’ Gennaro – for one of his inimitable match reports:

Dear Simon, content for the blog. Our favourite ersatz Irishman did not confirm or deny that his children were born out of wedlock. If you want a real belly laugh ring up Mick's voicemail at the FT. He comes over all public school ya and he is on holiday until April 9th.

Why were you dancing and making loads of noise?

And when I snare a Spanish bint [Ed’s note – there was no ‘snaring’ that I could remember, just moderate bothering], could the lads stop saying I am married to a senora. Her name is Selva (Jungle), the senorita I introduced to the whole gang. A good translation is "Wild Thing". I kept humming the Jimi Hendrix version from Electric Ladyland.

Un embrazo, Pablo

PS I need to do more work on my Flamenco dancing

So there you have it. To defend Mick, he said that he’d received a plaintive message on his work phone that week from a Spanish speaking gentleman with a treasure trove of sporting and musical memories.

Onto last Friday’s game now, the grand finale of the current campaign. Despite the fact we have played so deep into the Summer that our professional idols are already back in pre-season, we had a highly respectable turn out on Friday 20th July, with no fewer than seventeen players reporting for duty, most of them the dashing young blades based in the glamorous world of corporate finance. Here are your two teams -

Blues: Michele, Peter, Simon Gas, me, Joe, Mick, Bristol Paul, Andrew

Yellows: Adolpho, Alessandro, Antonio, Will, Danny, Paul, Nick, Stu, Patrick C

A couple of late line-up changes: Josh’s non-appearance meant that the Blues ended up with Joe while the ever-so-slightly-late Antonio turned from Blue to Yellow. This gave the Yellows a one-man advantage and that numerical weighting, combined with their side boasting the not inconsiderable ball playing talents of Will and Antonio (and Adolpho), meant that they dominated possession in a manner reminiscent of recent Spanish national teams.

Essentially, think of this game as one of those statistical oddities that Opta occasionally put out with one team enjoying three quarters of the possession but not managing any more shots on target than the team without the ball, (Jose Mourinho would have been proud of the Blue team).

As for the goals, Peter got us off the mark by smashing home a free kick for the Blues that almost took the net off, while Michele bagged the other two for the Blue team: one a deft flick from the outside of his right boot and the other following some fine counter attacking from Peter.
Not to be outdone, the Yellows also drilled home a free kick with Antonio being the recipient of some loose defending, while Will claimed the final goal of the 2018/19 season following a cross from Stu and a glancing effort that he or may not have meant which just eluded the otherwise immaculate Simon Gas in goals. A word for a player I’d not met before, Patrick C (one of the young financiers who generously find time to play with all the old duffers), who managed to smother one of Peter’s trademark howitzers from all of about eighteen inches during his stint in goal. Impressive.  

And props to Mick for one of the funnier moments of the season, after he accused Bristol Paul of virtue signalling after he dribbled the ball up the halfway line before passing the ball back to the opposition following a disputed handball call, thereby wasting about two minutes of the game.

Final score: Blues 3 – Yellows 3

All in all a good game to end the season, with everyone benefitting from a thorough work out in the wilting heat. And thus to the pub for a wonderful evening of Summer ale, chat and al fresco vertical drinking. Topics under discussion included the World Cup, Kylian Mbappe, holiday plans (including Simon’s journalistic trips to Seoul and Montreal), plastic recycling, flies and the merits of younger men enjoying time with older ladies. The usual, in other words.

Have a good Summer and see you all in September.

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