At the beginning of the week our 5 a side team again competed in the Live At Leeds 5 a side tournament. The previous two years had seen us crash out at the group stage without a single win. We were determined to do better this year. Here's what happened through the eyes of our goalkeeper:
"On Bank Holiday Monday a football tournament was held for people
associated with the annual Live At Leeds Festival. Our very own 'One
Shot Bob' is such a man, and so he cherry-picked the best players from
and vast musical empire (and beyond) to assemble a team capable of
challenging for the trophy. In previous tournaments Philophobia had
failed to secure a single victory, but this time out we were confident
we had the squad to deliver the goods, with most of us having played
together week in, week out for the last year.
In goal was the inimitable not-Captain-today Drunk, whose
intricately postioned ponytail gives him the cat-like balance to
underpin his razor sharp reflexes and agility. Since limiting himself to
2 pints before games his game has improved immeasurably and
inexplicably, with only the other-worldly movements of his nearpost
undermining his keeping perfection. In front of him was fitness fanatic
Paul Joice, whose ultra-pure lifestyle over the past 12 months has
ensured we were confident that he would neither a, do a 'marc
vivien-foe' or b. again utter the words "don't pass it to me, i'm
*****d". Every team needs a dirty spoiler who will put the boot into the
opposition flair players, and we have the dirtiest of them all in Chris
Howdle. Over the last 18 months he has carved out a niche making
lunging tackles, breaking the rules wherever possible and generally
roughing up the other team. We were going to need him at his
shin-bruising best if we were going to succeed. Crypto ladies favourite
Tristan Holdsworth was making his tournament debut, and we were sure
that his charismatic running, goofy smile and uncanny flair when it
comes to ruining every team photo would be invaluable to us. After an
almost year-long absence, Tim Brook made a return to the fold, meaning
that we now had the ace card of a player who would do everybody elses
running for them. Up front was Captain and talisman Rob Dee, his
commitment to football being so great that he has foregone the usual
footballer trapping of fast, beautiful women in order to pursue ever
higher levels of skill and accomplishment. He is the team's all-time
leading goalscorer, and came with a point to prove after two years of
disappointment in this competition.
32 teams entered, and Philophobia had been drawn in a so-called
'group of death' (according to the organisers). However we swiftly
proved that this would have been better called the 'group of very easy
games' as we systematically demolished all of the other teams.
Dirty Green Vinyl drew the shortest of straws and had to play us
first, Howdle swiftly banging in a brace of goals to hammer home a
reality check. Tristan and Joice added further goals before DGV shinned
in a couple of rubbish efforts, end result was a 5-2 win for us. Next up
were Future Sound who had won their first game and evidently fancied
themselves as champions-elect. Frank swiftly torpedoed this ridiculous
notion, his two superb solo efforts bookending Tim's goal to secure an
easy 3-0 win. Final game was against whipping boys Leeds Met Broadcast
Media and they were comprehensively swatted aside 7-0, the first being a
stunning own goal, but the pick being Frank's sublime half-volley into
the top corner from his own half.
Next up was the knockout stages, something Howdle took all too
literally as he began throwing his weight about. Firstly smashing
through one of their players, he sensed the referee was weak and so
followed it up by elbowing another opponent in t> he face. Startled
by this brutal approach, they were stunned as finishes from Tristan, Tim
and Frank left the final score Philophobia 3 -1 ILIKEPRESS.
In the quarters we played tubby chancers Beat Surrender who despite
taking an ill-deserved lead were pegged back quickly before a trademark
individual goal from Howdle gave us a 2-1 win to put us in the semis.
By this stage fatigue and fear had set into our remaining
opponents, and Tristans goal-dar was in full effect as he smashed in all
four goals in a comprehensive semi-final procession. Score was
Philophobia 4 - 0 Cockpit.
So we came to the final and discovered that we were playing a bunch
of guys from the football centre. Now if there's one thing Rob Dee
hates, it's ringers who had nothing to do with the festival infiltrating
our precious football tournament (!). The 50+ crowd that had assembled
were clearly on our side too and they greeted our breathtaking pass and
move football with cheers and shouts of encouragement. Our players did
their best to entertain the crowd, Tristan by ruining yet another
photograph, Howdle by falling about when nowhere near the player or
ball, and Joice upsetting their players with a few gentle ankle kicks.
Two fantastic strikes that were definitely not fortunate or own-goals
saw us take a two-goal lead, and the blazing sun played to our advantage
as we played keep-ball to see out a famous win.
Glory was ours, and the other 31 teams had seen their dreams
shattered. Never had so many men been so disappointed since Annabel
Cheung's latest failed world record attempt. We took our trophy, medals
and £20 bar voucher and partied into the evening with Fabrice Muamba. At
10.30 Drunk had had enough and went home to sleep, but for the first
time in the team's history he wasn't the last man standing as three of
them stayed out for further revelry. Drunk had never been so proud of
them than at that moment."