I’ve made an attempt at an uplifting story from back in the day. Here’s 12 year old me with a song that (just realised) hadn’t been written then.
It’s about football anyway. Our school football team was the worst football team you could imagine. Are you feeling uplifted yet? In our first year at big school, we didn’t win a single game, so, unsurprisingly, here we are in our second year 4-0 down in the first round of the under 13s Cumbria County Shield. 4-0 at half-time, pretty good for us.
My Clyde, you may remember him from previous posts.
He was giving his half-time team talk.
‘Listen lads, let’s try and keep this under 10, cos you’re embarrassing me as usual. You two, Cack-Footed and Complete-Shambles (there were a lot of double-barrel names in Cumbria at the time) get off, I’m gonna try these two boys from the year below.’
Tindal and Crossy (real names) jogged into midfield, the fact they were running was a good start.
It turned out Tindal and Crossy could do something we thought only Kevin Keegan could do on Match of the Day.
When the ball came to them, it didn’t randomly bounce off their shins into the path of the other team. They controlled it and gave it to a person wearing a similar colour. Mouse, our centre-forward, who’d never really seen the ball before, was suddenly surprised when it appeared at his feet.
And, with the ball and something to do, it turned out Mouse could play alright as well. And then Gukky and Vince stopped picking their noses on the wing, put their fags out and they started running about, generally in the right direction.
This might sound hard to believe, but I’m telling you it’s true, we won 5-4.
In the next round, we played on our home pitch, which was more cow poo than grass. Sometimes the cows were still there, and on this occasion, it felt like we had 12 players.
The other team didn’t know how to deal with Tindal and Crossy and didn’t appreciate the physics of cow plop and how quickly the ball stops in it.
We won again, and then we won a couple more times and found ourselves in the semi-finals.
Mr Clyde sat us down for a team talk: ‘Listen boys, you’ve done okay, but today you’re going to get hammered. Their centre-forward has had trials for Man United and he’s 6 feet 5 and scored more goals in a game than we conceded last year, which was a lot. He’s a goal machine.’
‘It was a good run, lads, but it’s over.
Go get ’em.’
In the 3rd minute, Vig, my fellow centre-half, accidentally booted the ball into the Man United goal machine’s face, burst his nose and he went off crying. That broke them and we were in the final.
The final was at the Workington Reds ground and 1000s turned up, knock a couple of noughts off if you want.
Mr Clyde: ‘Listen boys, they’ve all got hairy legs and moustaches you look like foetuses, it’s not going to happen etc etc’.
Buoyed up, we raced out onto the pitch and Mr Clyde was right. In the end testosterone was the winner here and we had none.
We put up the sandbags and prepared for the onslaught. Our goal posts must’ve been 6 feet thick because I remember them being hit about twenty times in the first five minutes.
But there is only one thing I really remember about that day.
Crossy, right of the centre spot, to Mouse, Mouse to Tindal, beats two guys on the left side of the penalty area and crosses the ball. Gukky, running fast in slow motion, don’t know how that works but that’s what happened, did this.
Look we were 12, it was nothing like that, but that’s memory for you.
We won. The crappest team in Cumbria won the Under 13 Cumbria County Shield.
Last word from Mr Clyde: ‘Listen boys, you didn’t deserve it, they should’ve had pummelled you, but I suppose you did okay.’
We did okay.
I know you don’t believe that someone like me could actually be winner of such a prestigious medal, so I hunted around and I managed to find it to prove it
Okay, it’s been on the mantelpiece for 40 years.
Take care and all the best,Ian