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Don’t Look Any Further*

As rude awakenings go Monday morning at Ruskin Sports Village's Arcoframe Arena was a real tester Temperatures loitering around 3 or 4 degrees, with a stiff chilly wind for good measure Yes it might be understandable that less hardy souls might have elected to remain under their duvets Except this is a fresh New Year and SHWFC Monday people are truly exceptional As a way to cleanse the soul and reinvigorate the senses an hour of turbo-charged Walking Football in the august company of like minded souls goes a mighty long way Why waste your time anywhere else?

When El Presidente finally arrived pitchside following a tediously slow journey from the Deep South (Warrington) the touchline was bursting at the seams Forty One other players, covering 3 or possibly 4 lines near that handy white marked touchline that the majority used as a guide, oohed and aghed their way through Andy Man's cunningly designed stretches and exercises, before a sub committee of serious looking people selected, bagsied and bib distributed the assembly Photos were attempted to be taken in the hope that final teams bore some similarities to the final line ups - as usual photos taken at this juncture are barely recognisable from the final line ups

Yellow - Haggis, Enoch, Tom Derby, Les Meldrew, Gaz, Andy Man and Phil the Power (who appears to be doubting whether he's in the right team)

Black - Roger, Tom Stretch, Aldo, Dav, Amazon Prime, Geoff P (relieved of ball boy duties) and The Honeyman

Purple - Donal, Snakehips, Mika, Willo, El Presidente and Chris K

Pink - Harry the Hatchet, Mark NR, McSpeed, Wickie, Lord Rainford and Les H

Orange - only 5 declared for photographic posterity) Spiro, Eamon, Citeh Geoff, Kenny and Barry Wizz plus Phil the Moss (see Yellow for possible doubtful reasoning)

Sky Blue Ladies - Tomo, Liz, Eileen, Margaret, Kirsty and Michelle Monday

As El Presidente, for a positive change was deemed 'a player' he was unable to make his usual gospel-truth chronicle of the morning's action, except for when his Purple team were involved So the accuracy of the session's events should be treated with some suspicion at the very least

The Referees looking after the session were Les Lomax (WFA qualified and Widnes refined - never been said about Widnes before) Cockney Rebel (rapidly becoming a most accomplished & talked about official) and the Late Colin Williams (who continues to make steady progress on his punctuality and refereeing)

The Pitch 1 fixtures under the hard but fair control of Mr Rebel (happily restored after seasonal sickness) featured the opening game with the Black taking on Pink Two goals taken at a canter by McSpeed gave Pink their opening victory 2-0 In the second round Black were well beaten by the passing power of the Purple People eaters Chris K and Donal fired Purple ahead Tom Stretch took full advantage of an elderly loose pass to claim a rare Black goal Snakehips then atoned for his earlier naive error with a good finish to seal Purple's 3-1 win

In his closest match Mr Rebel was kept on his toes ensuring Pink and Sky observed the rules at all times The game was claimed with a Mark NR from a suspiciously onside strike for Pink enough to shade the narrowest victory 1-0

In his final match Green and Orange played a close fought contest but Orange walked away with the spoils as two goals by Eamon ensured the win

WFA Tournament Ref Les Lomax kept a close eye on his games on Pitch 2 Orange started with a hard earned 2-0 win over Sky Kenny and Phil the Moss applying the net fluttering finishes to seal the victory

Game 2 was a tense exciting affair devoid of many chances and subsequent goals as Yellow snuffed out Sky 0-0 probably a fair reflection of the action

Yellow were on the receiving end of a narrow 1-0 defeat with Black improving their morning's record in a tight game

The morning's last game ended all square with Purple dominating possession but unable to prise the goal their all round performance should have produced Pink thwarting Purple in a 0-0 draw that was far from boring or uneventful

At the point of going to press the Late Colin Williams had yet to submit reports for those games under his watchful gaze We do know that Purple were somehow robbed in the morning's game against Orange The game hinged on a dubious goal which the author somehow missed accurately recording No surprise there then!

Other games may or may not have taken place on this the far pitch but only the victors and goal scorers will mind if we gloss over this and move on to a description of the Wednesday shenanigans and Monday's cake fest

There was a very respectable turnout at the Sutton Leisure Centre SoccerDome for our midweek meander Twenty Five players and countless Referees, Officials and assorted camp followers The night's action was split as usual between the white heat of frenzy that is poorly disguised as the Sports Hall and the electric atmosphere of the AstroTurf steppes Ten casually stripped off to singlets and hose to tread the boards (or more likely concrete) of the indoor session all under the direction and control of the Cockney Rebel whilst outdoors Eamon gallantly withdrew from playing citing a bad back His unselfish declaration meant he could instead support his fellow tyros in a refereeing capacity

The eventual 7v 8 game was a good contest, and praise was heaped upon last year's Clubman of the Year (so last year) for his prowess in sorting out the game in a grown up, impartial and sporting manner

The game itself was a good contest with the sides finely balanced just 1-1 at half time After the rehydration interval, Yellow made their extra player tell and were good value for their eventual victory 5-1 The final score perhaps but the actual contest was much closer skirmish than that score line would suggest

Indoors was an explosive goal-ridden affair that boiled over at times as is sometimes the case in the tight confines

The teams were;

White - Enoch, Steve Carine (back in action with a bang) Michelle Wednesday, Citeh Geoff and Joe the Ghost

Red - Kenny, Chopper, Phil the Power, Thatto Dave and Les Meldrew

After a pulsating session the teams could not be separated, with the scores locked at 8-8

White scorers included Steve Carine who hit 4 goals including a penalty, after missing the closing months of last year with a hamstring tear White's other scorers were Michelle, Enoch, Joe and Citeh Geoff

In reply the Red goals were, Kenny, Phil and Les each with two, plus singletons from Thatto Dave and Chopper (apparently a collector's item)

The last few minutes were soured by a real display of petulance A player, who really should know better, argued with Martin about firstly the current score and then the number of touches taken by an opposition player in the act of scoring Martin explained his view and other players chimed in to say that the Ref had got it right But, having backed himself into a corner the player in question then walked off, gathered his kit and left the Hall, leaving his team mates in the lurch

This Blog doesn't name or shame the individual involved BUT it's only fair to expect an apology to Martin, who's integrity was questioned and to the team mates left to play on short-handed until time ran out

We have a Code of Conduct that all Members agreed and signed up to as part of our membership application Let's hope that this situation is quickly resolved and we can then move on to enjoy the camaraderie of this Club and ethos of sportsmanship we've always strived to preserve

Years to build but minutes to destroy unless this matter is quickly settled

Code of Conduct

  • Place the well-being, safety and enjoyment of each player above everything, including winning

  • Adhere to the rules

  • Display and promote high standards of behaviour

  • Promote fair play

  • Always respect the match officials decisions

  • Never engage in or tolerate offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour

  • Never engage in bullying, intimidation or harassment

  • Speak to my team-mates, the opposition, spectators and my coach/manager with respect

  • Remember we all make mistakes

  • Win or lose with dignity. 

  • Shake hands with the opposing team and the referee at the end of every game

  • Be an ambassador for my club

January is, of course, a hive of birthdays with post festive waist lines being severely impacted as a result A particularly tasty chocolate cake stole the show in the post session sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Salon We are promised another feast this Monday with another series of birthdays imminent

So ensure you move heaven and earth to grab your portion while stocks last

Don't Look Any Further* - Dennis Edwards with Siedah Garrett

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