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1, 2 many*

All families will occasionally vent ‘I didn’t get where I am today‘ without the occasional vent CJ didn’t say but probably should have done! So a calm, quiet and gentle Wednesday night Walking Football session at Sutton Leisure should have prevented any fears of an outbreak of anarchy - except for once it didn’t Instead we had red mist descending on proceedings with Herr Oberst Pitt the centre of controversy instead of his more usual quiet man of the Reich

Football has always been a passionate sport and Walking football the elderly grumpy relative of the upstart game for sure Yet at times last evening the game took on a secondary concern as grown men (very grown men) traded forcefully their thoughts on the game For the sake of accuracy let’s dispel the thought that the games were dirty or out of control Players behaved themselves with commendable restrain to each other but consistent petulance ruined the night And though we know that behaviour in the white heat of the game was not in question we must also acknowledge that at times the spirit of the session was wrecked by verbal outbursts

As a player who liked the verbal exchanges over the years and who had a hole in the bank balance to prove that, I admit that I’m still living in my glass house picking up stones

But I don’t like Referees that having made their decision then goad players knowing full well the player will (grudgingly) always accept that decision Referees have a duty to the game and players to earn respect by their actions Respect has to be earned and is not a right

“We all know the decision right or wrong will be accepted for the greater good Let’s just on with it I’ve come here for an hours play not to feel short changed by delays for whatever reason“ Anon

So to the games and yet again we wasted so much time before the action finally commenced

We assemble at 6:45 to be ready to play at 7pm End of story

The teams selected by Coach Davies consultation with Moneyball and Mystic Meg were;

Blue - El Presidente, Gaz, Rev Ian (newly renamed Dibbly), Lee (or is it Wayne) Chopper and Citeh Geoff

Orange - Phil, Mike Wayne (returning after long illness), Lord Rainford, Les, Disco Deggs and Speedo

Sky - Tom Stretch, Tom Derby, Cockney Rebel, Grav, Andy and Steve Honeyman

Game one pitched a strong looking Blues (certainly the heaviest side) against the Orange who were on the wrong end of a 2-nil defeat both goals scored by Citeh Geoff The first a peach of a drive across the keeper to nestle inside the side of the goal and second applying a neat finish to great team move

Sky proved a much sterner test in game two for the Blues and the final outcome was a scoreless draw despite the feast of chances produced

In Game 3 it took some time before Sky took a lead they never lost Cockney Rebel claiming the first before Tom Stretch took advantage of a loose pass to fire home

There was the first odd decision of proceedings with a foul taken with a moving ball then reversed and awarded to the original miscreants

Orange raised their game in their next match up with Blues Disco Deggs (as controversial as ever all evening) dispatched a scrappy toe end across the goal to claim a goal despite intending something entirely different He was shown the dreaded Blue card but whether it was just prove it’s presence or not we aren’t too sure Huyton’s hero then produced a fine finish but was ruled to have run in the act of scoring Another lively debate inevitably followed

Blues dominated possession, shots and chances but couldn’t find an equaliser

Blues beat Sky in the closest game of the night with Citeh Geoff completing his hat trick with the only game of the game There was a heated debate regarding a goal scored following a free kick, Herr Pitt taking extraordinary measures to explain something that baffled most of us Lots of head shaking and mumbling later we resumed play Tom Stretch was then pulled up for running with just one step having been taken - fair enough his step is the equivalent of 2 yards but it’s still hard to explain why a foul was awarded The game was difficult to manage certainly but hardly World War II

In the night’s final match in a game that was littered by running fouls Sky took the honours with goals by Grav, Cockney Rebel and Tom Stretch

Orange wasted a penalty chance with tame back pass by M’Lord, the ennobled one also on the wrong end of a running foul (he’d probably be proud of attaining that run)

A rocky end to the evening assured by another flash of the Blue card but again the sanction was not enacted and a full complement of players shook hands or pumped fists at the conclusion

It’s been interesting to read comments today It seems we do actually respect the Ref after all! So perhaps we need the Blue card to mean something It’s a bit pointless just showing it if it is meaningless The WFA rules that we’ve played to for almost a year haven’t changed but we’ve never applied them to the degree evident last night The numbers of fouls we shared last night for running was ridiculous Maybe people don’t realise they’re running? Playing indoors on a small pitch with 6 a side is always going to be a challenge with a lack of space and lively ball but that’s just a mitigating explanation

We’ve managed our own games in recent weeks by common sense and fairness but that now seems to be inadequate Can I remind everyone that there was no skullduggery last night There were no serious fouls We did have a disputed free kick/goal We did have someone lunging into challenges and that needs to stop We did have histrionics & my personal favourite the forward backing in to defenders knowing he will always win a free kick Defenders are entitled to stand their ground but not go through the back of opponents and we need referees to appreciate the difference

Shaking Head explained right there!

But it is tough to be on top of all that of course so we will always support the man with the whistle Let’s not beat ourselves up We are a sporting and fair group and long may that continue

The Club invite all players to get together on Friday 17th December for a Christmas drink Meet at 19:00 at the Turks Head - the Club’s famous Boot Room Our Social Secretary will be announcing reminders on our WhatsApp Groups and we hope to see everyone at some point that evening

1, 2 many* Luke Combs (Beer Never Broke My Heart)

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