Monday, April 30, 2007

Best Day - Ever

Leamington FC hosted a day of football, based on past and future. This consisted of the kids doing an exhibition style game, with Brakes Legends v Chairman Select 11. We were up first and playing the other U11 team, now, Tub's team (manager of U11) are midtable division B, and my team are rock bottom of division C, 15 minutes each way, and it was all about the kids having a laugh, and showing what the Youth club is all about.

Both teams were given the dugouts at the New Windmill Ground, where the kids were able to play on the perfect carpet pitch in a 6aside pitch setup. After 2 minutes, my team went 1-0 up with one of the lads first goals of the season, and we held on, much to Tub's annoyance. Half time came and went, and we had a number of chances up front, and holding strong at the back. However, typical Colts Styleee, we conceeded a goal in the very last minute of the game - making it 1-1 - however probably good for the team, club and crowd to see an entertaining game.

After the game, I was told to go see the youth chairman at half time about getting a couple of minutes on the pitch as part of the chairman select team - fair enough. Nice to be rewarded for working with the kids all season. After 5 minutes of talking to some of the lads, my name was called out on the PA system and told to go to the players tunnel. Half expecting a rollocking for nearly beating Tub's team, I was told to go into a door way. There was the chairman of the youth squad, handing me a kit (all white - handy with my complexion) and sitting on the chair was Tubs. He pulled on this goalkeeping top, looking so giddy - you know the look, like all your dreams have come at once, you've got your first train set, or something special, just add about 30 years and add the same amount of excitement. Tubs was holding onto my arm, more or less dancing saying "Steve, we're going to play, isn't this great ?!?!?"

Photo : Paul Edwards - Me in Number 17 - Looking Excited.

Anyhoo, I sat on the bench for the remaining of the first half, listening to the lads, and hoping the weather would warm up a little. The whistle went and chairman select were 3-0 up, we went back to the changing rooms and had a couple of orders (me replacing the manager of the academy side) but mainly listening to a couple of the legends, about tales from old - fantastic - this is like every boys dream - coming true. The lad who was playing in my position in the first half, warned me about some old legend nutmegging him and generally making him look like a fool - oh fantastic I thought.

Thankfully by the time I got on the pitch, they'd swapped it around too, marking the U9's manager, Mr Ackrill, so we had a laugh, and I generally had him in my pocket for the time I stayed on the pitch. Thanks to Pete and JJ (my coaches) they had collected all the kids from my team, and decided to give me loads of abuse, and the kids shouting the same things that we shout to them when they're playing. Luckily they got bored of that quickly and went to play football. I did manage to get a bit of a clap & cheer when I back heeled the ball to a player behind me while someone was closing me down, and managed to cross a ball into the box. After 25 minutes of running around like a headless chicken, I decided to give it up for a bit and sit back on the bench.

The final score was 4-4 - so there was a bit of Pen action. I don't think it was being counted, but I took mine, managing to some how, slide it under the keeper and squeezing it into the back of the net. What a fantastic day tho, completely honoured to be involved in the game, honoured to represent the kids as a manager, and they done themselves more than proud.

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