There are conspiracy theorists that can look coldly at almost any event and find a hidden meaning or agenda to suit their purposes. So it shouldn't be a total surprise to find evidence of the oldest form of conspiracy darkening our report for today's action. It was just a normal Monday morning stroll out at Ruskin Drive or was it? There was no warning of the unfolding drama ahead as members were parted with their money by the ever eager Treasurer Alex. Coach Davies put his charges through the now familiar stretches and exercises in the warm up and then got to work on Moneyball. For those unfamiliar with this dark art, Moneyball is our algorithm designed to select fair and balanced teams. It uses a Nasa created devise to include players ages, heights, weights and inside leg measurements when making the guess work seem informed. But today this thankless task took on a degree of artificial intelligence thought by some to be the key to life. The resulting teams were;
Blues - Geoff, David H, Wayne, Len, Tony, Mick and keeper Bryan
Green - Steve, Jeff, Nigel, Chopper, Tom and Les
Red - Colin, David T, Martin B, Phil, Alex and Andy
The confluence of a Blues outfit containing the only 3 Citeh fans currently playing in the Club (Geoff, David H and Wayne) was surely not coincidental or was it? That trio, who might normally be a reasonable home crowd at the Etihad, were soon horrified to hear that the day's referee was no other than United fan and all round villain - our Chairman. A conspiracy surely? Yes free kick to you of course would you like to pay me now?
The first game was quickly underway as the Ref bundled large amounts of cash into his kitbag. Reds and Greens played some excellent football both teams moving the ball around with great gusto. Reds were organised and accurate with their passing Greens preferring to defend and hit their opponents on the break. After a good workout neither team deserved to lose nor could either find a winner 0-0 the result and a super reminder of the skill on show in our sessions these days.
Game 2 pitted the Reds against the Blues with Steve guesting for Reds to compensate for their opponents extra man. The game was another tight affair but Blues despite having spent millions lacked a cutting edge, happy to pass the ball around to probe a weakness that Reds didn't appear to have. There was an inevitable moment of controversy as Steve found some space to unleash a pile driver past Bryan in the Blues net. Blues protests were waved away as the Ref retrieved a wad of cash that had fallen from his grasp during the Blues previous protest. 1-0 and the game was over. Blues accepted the conspiracy theory with their usual grace (no I haven't had a drink yet), and prepared to face Greens in the next match.
Steve was to haunt the hapless Blues just as in the previous match with a great effort that threatened to rip the net from its frame. He had waltzed through defenders to claim the game's only goal and despite claims of multiple touches and other felonies the Ref could find no reason to rule the goal out.
David T (Brighton's other supporter) found a excellent position unmarked on the left side of goal to steer Reds through a lively match up with the Greens. A wayward Greens corner was swiftly punished by Reds (as Hawkins J took the healing waters in Yorkshire). By now it was very evident that Reds communication, encouragement and organisation was taking a grip on the morning's matches. But Steve was soon in evidence again with a fine finish to level the match. 1-1 draw with Reds and Greens another excellent display by both sides.
Reds closed out the session unbeaten with a goal by Colin enough to shade the final match with Blues. Blues tendency to over elaborate when in possession reminiscent of a Wenger team minus Henry and 10 other players, meant their opponents were given time to regroup and absorb pressure.
So there we have it. Did Reds take the day's honours due to cash deposits or was the Citeh connection a factor? We may never know. We do know however that it was an enjoyable morning played in a great spirit and a credit to all involved.
In those immortal words of Gerard S, "we go again" on Wednesday at Sutton. Steve Pitt will be back from that romantic weekend at Berchtesgaden with Frau Pitt, expect even less sympathy if you question the Referee. I'm off to count my money and my blessings!