So off we went to play at Wembley. Graham had managed to acquire a mini bus for us and we all met at Jans house and after squabbling about who sits where, we set off.
The squad was Dave, Jan, Roger, Barry, Graham and Steve. Steve had to make his own way down due to the fact he was trying to dump his poor little dog on someone. We had warned him that getting a puppy would ruin his life.
Graham had injured his foot the day before and it had swollen so much that he kept pressing the accelerator and break pedals together, making it a rather bumpy journey.
We arrived 2 hours early at Brighton giving us time to do our rigorous warm up exercises, which meant kicking the ball about a bit.
There were 9 teams and they were split into 3 groups of 3. The winners of each group would play each other, second placed would play each other etc.
Now our record at tournaments is best left un-mentioned, but we knew that every team would play 6 games of 20 minutes each, so getting sent home early was not an option this time.
The teams were
Crawly Casuals (favourites)
Real Chestnut Trotters
Before I carry on I must say how gallant Graham was to play. We did everything we could to ease his foot, including rubbing in Roger’s special cream, and giving some pain killers (although these were blue and may have been the wrong ones as it made his foot stiffer) We also acquired a bandage and plenty of freeze spay was applied. However, his left foot still looked like a hobbit’s foot.
Our group was Brighton Penguins, Worthing, and US and we were on pitch 1, which was apply named Wembley.
We sat and watched the first match thinking they looked quite reasonable, with Worthing beating Penguins 1 – 0.
Then something incredible happened. We played Brighton Penguins and totally slaughter them. We won 5 – 0. Steve with his weaving runs through the middle scored 2 crackers. Even Dave got in on the act with a long range shot that fooled everyone, including us, and Graham, who could hardly miss the ball with a foot twice normal size, scored a couple a Graham’s specials. Baz and Roger worked well together in mid-field and let nothing through. Jan was his commanding self as usaul.
Without a rest we then took on Worthing. They were a good side and this was a tough and hard fought match. This was mostly played out in the midfield with both teams failing to get close to goal. We dug our heals in and although Worthing were stringing some lovely passes together, they couldn’t break us down. We came off knowing we had held one of the best teams there..
What those results did was put us in top group with the other group winners, who were Crawly and Brighton Dolphins. Both formidable sides with Crawly being the Sussex cup champions and Brighton Dolphins the Sussex walking Football League champions for the last 2 years… and we had to play both of them twice!!!
We were mumbling to ourselves that at least we’d played well so far and whatever happened we could be proud. Well as it turned out, we beat Crawly 1 – 0 with another cracker from Graham’s good foot, and drew with them 0 – 0 in the second game. and we only just lost 1 – 0 in both the Brighton Dolphin games. We gave them a really good game and was unlucky not to come out on top.
We came of the pitch feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves knowing we had shown the 2 best sides what Canterbury can do, and given our reputation a boost.
Summing the day up, it was a fantastic result with poor Graham playing nearly 2 hours of footie with a gangrene foot and scoring 3 goals (oh, I must add he missed a penalty that would have won us the title). Big Steve in nearly total control at the back with Dave, who stood in one spot all match making brilliant pin point passes. Jan made vital saves when needed and throwing some great overhead balls up to Graham and Barry. Barry, who’s battling enthusiasm kept us all going while working really well with Graham, and Roger, who although can’t pass the ball, or control it with his feet, stood his ground in midfield shouting “You shall not pass”… and with a little gentle persuasion, they didn’t.
Thank you Jan for organising this and well done to our battling lads with their 2nd place.
This is Graham’s foot below. He’s our hero