I've tried all sorts of approaches and efforts to get a game, well 6 to be more precise; you see in order for me to complete The Football Challenge I need to play in six, 90 minute, 11-a-side matches, but I seem to be having a little difficulty.
Regardless of this particular quest, or even of The Everyman Olympics, when the opportunity to play in The Ron Goreham El Classico Cup Of The World Birthday Final I lept in with both feet like a decent long jumper into the sandpit*.
This match was the brainchild of my mate Josh Goreham, and a combination of a tribute to his wonderful father Ron Goreham and a celebration of his own birthday.
As you may have guessed from the title for the fixture, the competing squads would take on the persona's of Spain's greatest teams; the Galacticos of Real Madrid and the free flowing Magicians of Barcelona.
|Barcelona wearing green, with Real Madrid in white (OK so the kits were different), |
The Everyman Olympian is 3rd from Bottom Right
The first half got underway with Barcelona displaying all their trademark flair and invention, while us Galactico's focused on chasing the ball and the opposition in our own half.
|The Everyman Olympian takes the near post as Real Madrid defend a Barcelona corner.|
Goal! Jeff scored from a looping free kick from 35 yards out, it missed everyone (sadly including our keeper) and Barca went 1-0 up.
Josh, our Player/Manager/Jose Mourinho made a strategic switch: moving me from right midfield to right back and taking up an attacking wingers position himself - this almost payed off within seconds but his short range effort on goal missed by mere feet.
Then the 'Catalunian's' excellent goalie made a rare blunder, kicking straight out to the white's Bass, who made no mistake in levelling the tie to 1-1. The crowd went wild. Or more specifically, the crowd momentarily looked up from its morning papers and dothed its collective cap.
Bird launched a throw-in to Barca's star outfield player, Jeff - he turned the defender and drilled a shot into the bottom left corner of our net, 2-1 Barcelona.
Real were growing into the game but now in need of a goal before half time to give themselves a chance for victory. Jamie Grech launched a probing cross forward in another of our attacks, though no-one in a white shirt managed to get close enough to it, nor did the opposition - 2-2!
I started the second half as I had finished the first, on the sidelines; Coach Goreham (Josh) was being fantastic in ensuring all players had their turn on the pitch and in the break, as well as making a spurring speech to the boys, he made substitutional changes to give more chances to those that hadn't featured much.
Again, Barca's probing runs paid dividends: Dec set Nick up for an easy tap in, 3-2 Barcelona.
This time we didn't have to wait too long for yet another leveller, though perhaps we were becoming a little too reliant on lady luck - Ben scuffed a ball goal wards, Barcelona's tiring defence missed another speculative effort and the ball trickled over the line to joyous reaction from our team, 3-3.
Extra time reared it's ugly head, both teams pleading this was unwanted punishment but Josh 'Mourinho' Goreham insisted that this event would have an outright winner, and so after a short rest the official referee blew his whistle and the game was restarted.
The first half passed without major incident, a quick change of sides and we were off again - by now I was playing as striker and while making what I felt were some good runs, I was acting more as a decoy for my strike partner; who Real's midfield were more confident in passing to.
The clock ticked on and penalties looked imminent, but Barca's star man had other ideas - Jeff broke clear of our defence and unselfishly put teammate Steve in for simple finish past our beleaguered keeps; Madrid hearts were shattered in the final minute, Barcelona winning the game 4-3.
This was more than a win or a loss though, it was an ace way to celebrate Josh's birthday and more than that too, it was a fitting tribute to a great man, Ron Goreham.
|Josh Goreham and The Everyman Olympian|
One match down, I've 5 more to play to achieve The Football Challenge, if you can help me please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org