Category Archives: Football

Weird Ways Your Country Could Win Euro 2016!

UEFA Euro 2016 kicks off on 10th June 2016! Excitement is mounting as football fans wonder if their team can actually win it this time.

The answer is, yes they can! Games can be won by wonder strikes, super saves or creative passing. Even top-class teams occasionally win by a fluke goal or dodgy decision. And there have been some even weirder ways teams have won important matches:

By winning a coin toss – Italy got through to the 1968 UEFA Euro final by winning a coin toss after the semi-final ended in a draw. The final also ended in a draw but this time it went to a rematch and Italy won to lift the trophy!

By scoring an own goal – Barbados deliberately kicked the ball into their own net to qualify for the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup. They were winning 2-1 but needed to win by two goals. Time was running out so they booted the ball in their own goal to take the game to extra time. They then scored in extra time where goals counted twice and qualified!

By failing to qualify – Denmark failed to qualify for the UEFA Euro tournament in 1992. However, they were offered a last minute place when the Yugoslavian team was kicked out due to a war in their country. Denmark went on to win the tournament.

So, whoever your team, there is always a chance! Enjoy the tournament.


Football: It’s a Game of Too Many Clichés

Football is a simple game. Two teams use their feet to try and get the ball into the opposition’s goal. That’s it in a nut shell! But by the time we reach adulthood we have eaten, slept and breathed so much football that it’s coming out of our ears. And we have heard so many football clichés that we can’t help them from pouring out of our mouths, even when they make no sense at all!

Take a look at an under 7s game on a Saturday morning:

The coach calls the team in and they all huddle round waiting for some words of wisdom from their mentor. “These are our bogey team,” he says. “They are nothing special though. We just didn’t turn up last time.”

A child puts his hand up, “We turned up,” he says, pointing around at the friends he remembers being there.

“Yes I know you turned up,” says the coach. “I just mean, never mind. We need to keep a clean sheet today.”

The children exchange confused looks, wondering where bogeys and laundry come into the game.

Not to be deterred, the coach continues, “Remember, keep your shape. Push forward. Clear your lines. Use the ball. Grind out a result. Does everyone understand that?”

Ten blank faces stare back at him.

He holds up a whiteboard. “Okay, we are going to play as a diamond today. This is the starting line-up. The rest of you are on the bench.”

The substitutes look around. There is a bench further across the field but it seems a long way from the pitch.

The referee calls the captains in and the teams line up for their pre-match handshake.

“Get stuck in,” says the coach. “Be ready from the off. Go out fighting!”

The referee shoots the coach a warning look as the players shake hands.

The game kicks off and the children begin to play. But the opposition are on the attack and the team concede a corner. The coach shouts to a defender, “Jonny! Hug the post!”

Jonny approaches the post and eyes it up warily but decides against hugging it.

The ball falls to Jonny. “Away, away,” shouts the coach.

“Kick it out,” screams a woman from the side of the pitch.

“Get rid of it” shouts Jonny’s dad.

Jonny swings a leg and desperately kicks the ball off the pitch for a throw in to cheers from the side-lines.

Back in play, the ball bounces into some space in the box a few metres away from a small boy who hasn’t yet touched the ball. A man on the side-line who looks like his playing days are long gone and leisure activities now consist of drinking beer and eating burgers shouts, “Carry it.”

The boy looks puzzled but as instructed, bends down and picks up the ball to carry it.

Screams of “Handball!” come from the opposition parents.

The man with the beer belly shouts at the boy: “No, what are you doing?”

The boy looks even more confused. The referee points to the penalty spot.

The opposition striker, who is twice the size of the other children steps up and places the ball on the penalty spot. The tiny goalkeeper stands eyes wide like a rabbit in the spot light in the middle of the massive goal.

“Make yourself big!” comes a voice from the side.

“Fill the goal,” adds another unhelpfully.

The whistle blows and the striker takes his shot. The ball whizzes past the keeper who turns dejectedly to pick the ball out from the back of the net.

The half time whistle sounds and the children gather around the coach. “We’re letting them pull the strings,” he says. “They’re playing us off the park. We’ve lost our shape. We’re being sucked in and giving the ball away too cheaply. We need to hold the ball up in midfield.”

The children look worried after the earlier hand ball incident.

The coach continues. “Freddie, I need you to sweep up behind the defence. Can you do that please?”

Freddie nods, wondering where he can find a broom.

The second half starts and the team win a free kick. “Let Tommy take it,” shouts the coach. “He knows how to hit a dead ball.”

Tommy scores to the cheers of the parents. The coach is jubilant. “Well done. Now get another and put this game to bed. We’ve got it sewn up. It’s in the bag.”

The ball falls to Amy in front of the goal. “Shoot,” shouts her dad.

“Pass it,” shouts her mum.

“Run with it,” shouts the coach.

Amy miskicks the ball in her panic.

“She’s sliced it again,” says the coach, throwing his hands in the air.

The opposition are in control now and look likely to score again. “It’s backs to the wall now lads…and lassie,” shouts the coach. “Dig in deep. Let the ball do the work. Park the bus. The ball never gets tired. Leave everything on the pitch.”

A constant stream of gibberish continues to be heard from the side of the pitch throughout the game: “Drop in. Pick it up. Square it. Tuck in. Hold. Sit in!” It’s no wonder some kids would prefer to play their video games, at least they can enjoy them in peace without someone shouting nonsense in their ear.

The children will eventually learn that much of the advice isn’t much use and block it out anyway. So let’s just keep quiet and let them enjoy the game. They’ve plenty of time to learn the strange language of football. Let the children play and they’ll be sticking the ball in the onion bag before you know it.

What are your favourite or pet peeve football clichés?


Another Real Women’s Football Match Report

As I was busy keeping a clean sheet in goal, the note-pad once again found it’s way into Laura Melling’s hands. The following report, taken from Lemming’s notes, sums up the match and other observations from today’s Huntingdon Town Ladies football match.

The match as Lemming saw it:

The game got off to a good start when Tash touched the ball with her new hairdo. Tash also surprised the spectators by getting her leg surprisingly high in a tackle.

Sian scored by cutting inside and placing the ball in the bottom corner and Lemming made all the substitutes and spectators jealous by showing them a picture of her breakfast.

Knoxie beat the left back and did an amazing cross. Everyone missed it but a corner was won. From the corner, the ball fell to Jenner. Jenner swerved and scooped the ball over the keeper, who looked like a tiger in her orange and black kit.

Sophie, aka Bale, curled a free kick into the goal. Hollie had a chance to score but decided not to as it would not have been a wonder goal.

Radders had a shot on target but the attempted headed clearance resulted in a goal. Both teams will await the decision of the Dubious Goals Committee to hear whether the goal will be awarded to Radders or go down as an own goal.

An opposition player went down injured just before half time and was receiving treatment throughout the break. Sian suggested moving to a different pitch so the game could continue.

The player recovered and the game continued on the same pitch. Stef appeared near the opposition goal, causing the spectators to worry she hadn’t realised we had swapped ends. Hollie dummied a cross from Jenner, leaving Emma a tap in at the far post.

Sophie collected the ball from a rebound and shot at goal but a defender appeared in a puff of smoke to clear the ball from the goal-line. The ball fell to Knoxie’s left foot but she missed as her left foot can only be used for standing on.

Town managed to hit the post and the cross-bar before Emma tapped in another goal at the far post. The referee deemed the goal was offside and disallowed it. The crowd could be heard calling for TV replays.

Bale scored from another free kick, Hollie scored with a cool finish and Radders did a Hazard by kicking a player who was lying on the ball. Megan then got on the score sheet after a lay back from Georgie.

One of the frustrated opposition defenders launched into an angry tirade of loud profanities, causing Jenner to reply with a ‘Good God!’

Emma scored another to end the game nine nil. Boom!

The official match report can be found here.

Huntingdon Town LFC – Unofficial Player Biographies

There was no game for Huntingdon Town Ladies FC today. So, unable to do my usual factual and totally unbiased match report for the website I thought I would update the player bio section. But then I thought producing unofficial bios would be far more fun. So here is a brief low down on the wonderful bunch at HTLFC.

Rachael Bowd (aka Bowdy , Le Bowd or Farm Girl)
Captain Bowd sets a good example by always turning up to training in perfectly colour coordinated clothing.

Jo Bull
That’ll be me. Spends too much time chatting to the spectators and forgets to play football, especially when in goal.

Abi Chapman
Would rather be in Starbucks than on the footy pitch. Abi came back from Oz to play for us, among other, less important things, like love.

Emma Clark
Silent but deadly. Emma doesn’t speak much but when she does her voice is surprisingly posh.

Hollie Dare (aka Princess)
Essex girl Hollie doesn’t like to get her nails dirty. Only ever scores worldies.

Stephanie Day (aka Stef)
Winner of the 2011-12 Most Improved Behaviour Award. Stef doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Natasha Dowdell (aka Tash)
Tash gave up a career in Tesco to become a teacher. Every little helps.

Sian Gamble
Sian is one of the reasons we wear shin pads at training. If she shoots, get out of the way!

Georgie Goodwin
So tiny she can run through the oppositions legs without them noticing.

Kathleen Hodgson (aka The Cat)
She is a Kat that keeps chickens. Kat holds good barbecues….just don’t tell the chickens.

Helen Jenner (aka Jenner or Dr J)
Keeper of the first aid kit, we often have to remind Dr J that she is not a real doctor. Says ‘Good God’ when shocked, which seems to be quite often around this bunch.

Claire Knox (aka Knoxie)
The West Brom whippet. Media favourite, Knoxie, just can’t keep out of the papers.

Sophie Marheineke
Super Spurs fan. If there was an award for most neatly packed kit bag, Sophie would win hands down.

Jo McGoff (aka Bethjo)
Looks just like her twin, Beth. Wears yellow boots and plays in goal so we know it is Jo.

Beth McGoff (aka Jobeth)
Looks just like her twin, Jo. Plays on the pitch and doesn’t wear yellow boots so we know it is Beth.

Laura Melling (aka Lemming)
Terrifies opposition with her tendency to stamp. She is not a violent player, she just runs really loudly! Has made two ‘almost assists’ this season.

Claire Radford (aka Radders)
Sleeps most of the time but if she happens to be awake on a Sunday afternoon she is a pretty nifty player.

Megan Stow
Megan’s legs have a mind of their own. She does tricks so complicated; even Megan doesn’t know how she did them.

Barbara Williams (aka Babs)
An actual power house, Babs is the other reason we wear shin pads at training.

Karen Williams
Karen defies the laws of aging. Would play with a cigarette in her mouth if she could get away with it.

And last, but not least, our manager, Andy Maltby
Calls Lemming ‘Melly’ and no one has the heart to tell him otherwise. He likes to fold bibs.

The Real Match Report

So this Sunday, I handed my notepad to Laura Melling, aka Lemming, to record any notable incidents during the game. The following report tells the match events from a slightly different angle:

Fulbourn Bluebirds vs Huntingdon Ladies – League Cup – 21st Oct 2012

Lemming, ate her Freddo while the substitutes and supporters made their score predictions for the match. Hollie was very optimistic, foreseeing an 11-1 win for Huntingdon. The manager’s son Jack had chips but everyone else was disappointed he didn’t share.

Ex Town keeper, Laura Gilbey, arrived to watch and chat about dogs as she misses us so badly. The small crowd got excited when a phone said, ‘Potato.’

On the pitch, exciting events were occurring. A Fulbourn goal was disallowed, Stef Day won a header by leaping through the air like a salmon and Rachael Bowd, aka Bowdy, made a tackle without fouling. The phone then said, ‘Potato,’ again, bringing everyone’s attention back to the sidelines.

Claire Knox, aka Knoxie, taught everyone that penguins mate for life and that the boy penguin gives the girl penguin the best pebble he can find from the beach. At half time, Lemming enjoyed a coffee while Abbey opted for a cup of tea.

In the second half, there was a moment of horror as Jo McGoff’s goal kick almost hit an unsuspecting dog. Both managers made the most of the repeat substitution rule. Players were rolled on and off the pitch. Emma Clarke was rolled back on but didn’t have a shirt so Jo Bull, aka Jo Bull, had to hand hers over as she rolled off the pitch. The referee threatened to report us for not having enough shirts.

Back on the pitch, Emma made it into the penalty box but fell over. Lemming’s shouts for a penalty were ignored. Just as it seemed the game was heading for extra time Karen Williams, aka Tyson, popped up with a headed goal to send Huntingdon through to the next action packed round of the league cup.

The official match report can be found by clicking here. Which do you think is best?

Huntingdon Town Ladies FC Are Set for a New Start

ImageThe 2012-13 season marks a new start for Huntingdon Town Ladies FC. After twenty years in the Eastern Region Women’s League the club have decided to switch to the S-Tech Cambridgeshire Women’s League. Huntingdon got off to a good start yesterday (Sunday 2nd Sept) with an 8-0 win over Wisbech St Mary Yellow.

The club formed twenty years ago when women’s teams were few and far between and travelling across the region to play against other teams was a necessity. Now, after the huge growth in women’s football there are more good quality local teams and the Huntingdon players are looking forward to playing against some new opposition.

Full match reports can be found here.