So here it is – our final award for 2014, despite the fact we are now six days into 2015. But football is the gift that keeps giving so here is my last offering for this year. My three favourite moments from my footballing year.
3rd Place – New York Cosmos
Back in August on a regular trip to New York I got the opportunity to tick not one, but two things off my lifetime wish list. An opportunity to see the famous New York Cosmos was obviously the main agenda item here (complete coincidence that they were playing in the very week I was over), having grown up reading about the mythical team from the 1970/80’s in the NASL with Pele, Beckenbauer and of course Barrow’s finest, Keith Eddy. Now back in the second tier of US football, the good times could be coming back, especially after announcing the signing of Raul. But this wasn’t a night to remember. A dull 0-0 draw played in a school’s athletics stadium but it was still “the Cosmos”. And the second thing? Getting to ride on one of those yellow American School buses I’d seen so often in films. Oh, and I took a pretty good picture.
2nd Place – Lewes v Dulwich Hamlet and Maidstone United
2014 hasn’t been the best year for The Mighty Rooks but for five glorious days back in March we were the best team in the world. Well, perhaps in the Ryman Premier League anyway, as the top two came to The Dripping Pan and were both dispatched goal less and point less. Luck? Nope – I’m putting it down to the fact we (OK, I) scouted them both on a number of occasions. Being taught how to scout is like being tutored in how to drink a fine wine. Once learnt, you will never watch a game of football in the same way, unable to make remarks incomprehensible to the people around you such as “look at how the number 9 leads with his left arm” or “the keeper won’t come if it’s 6 yards out”…And I bloody love it. The warm, satisfaction you get after the team has put in place tactics based on your knowledge and won! That’s why those two games are so special…we wont talk about Grays or Wealdstone away though.
1st Place – The World Cup
For four years I moan about our elite players, their attitude and generally the beautiful game being corrupted by billions of pounds. Then, every two years a major tournament comes along and everything is right with the world. I came very close to being in Brazil. Very close in an all-expenses paid trip to Sao Paolo to write about it, sort of way, but passed up the opportunity and Rookery Mike went instead. We haven’t spoken since. Due to my travelling schedule I spent nearly the whole of the tournament in various corners of the world. Germany’s demolition of Portugal in their opening game of the tournament was shared with a couple of hundred German fans in a bar in Singapore at 1am then being featured on local TV. Watching Australia and then England make their early exits from the World Cup at 5am in the morning in a Melbourne casino, with an endless supply of Coopers Ale or watching the Brazilian demolition in a bar in Eindhoven with a German Hen party. The actual games weren’t bad too.
Our highlights of 2014 can be viewed here, all in one handy little spot.
So see you all next year – one year older, one year wiser, one year damages by poor performances by our respective sides on the pitch.