Sunday Morning

From the Rage Online newsdesk Wednesday, January 1st, 1992  

Sunday Morning Nightmare

Daylight seeps into a grey and colourless world, recollections of the night before sadly begin to fall into place. With a sense of horror you notice the time and realise that it’s only twenty minutes to kick off. This is the beginning of another Sunday morning nightmare.

So what does Sunday morning football have to offer? Well if your looking for goals this is the place to be; the game is always played in a committed manner, no quarter asked for or given. And every once in a while somebody will confound both sides and the spectators by producing a genuine piece of breathtaking skill. I should know I’ve been on the receiving end of several. Apart from the footie itself you have the added bonus of actually being able to hear what ‘coaches’/spectators are shouting at the teams. Imagine your glee as the pot-bellied, chain smoker marking you is abused for not making that last challenge and allowing you an unmissable opportunity (which you in all fairness blast hopelessly wide). The other great part of Sunday football is the sides themselves.

The composition of most teams seems to bear several remarkable coincidences: firstly you have the players with some semblance of skill & pace, often lightning fast wingers who spend the whole 90 minutes carping on about getting the ball into feet while you in blissful ignorance are attempting to kick the word ‘Mitre’ off the ball.

Next there is the still drunk centre-half, usually distinguishable by the fact that he is the only member of the side who can head a ball; often overweight they tend to be older heads capable of displaying traces of talent from days long gone.

Now we turn to the midfielders who actually do come in all shapes & sizes; the midfield is the unit that will be blamed for all defeats (‘We just lost it in Midfield’) irrespective of individual performances & errors. Midfield players fall roughly into two categories: ‘Hoddles’ & ‘Hurlocks’. One type spends the whole game spraying the ball around the park to no great effect and moaning about everybody else’s workrate, the other type spends the full ninety minutes engaged in mortal combat and moaning about a lack of creativity in the team!

Next we have the fullbacks. Now I sadly was born to be a full-back this invariably means that you are placed there to do as little damage to your own side as possible and for the rest of the team to blame you when something goes wrong. An ability to head a ball in any direction but the correct one is essential, as is the ability to find touch with any pass or clearance. Invariably you will be the butt of various comments about not getting forward enough, leaving your winger open, not staying on your feet, not getting stuck in. In short you are the yardstick against which others will measure their own ineptitude.

The last requisite for all teams is an individual completely brain-dead who will play in goal. This person must be required never to mind standing still for the whole 90 minutes in driving rain or snow and then be called upon to make a telling contribution when the full-back makes another short back pass. At this point anybody with an I.Q. remains rigidly stuck to their line; virtually all goalkeepers rush headlong at the oncoming Billy Whitehurst lookalike to place their head at about kicking level. If you’ve got to be mad to play in goal then Sunday morning is the place to prove it.

Of course all sides have to have a manager. This individual needs to know absolutely next to nothing about the game, just what words or phrases to use during ‘Training’ or from the touchline: ‘Getting Stuck In’; ‘Spreading The Play’; ‘Hoof It, Hoof It’ are all of course part of tradition but these days you will also be expected to be familiar with such terms as ‘Pick Up The Secondary Ball’; ‘Switching The Play’ & ‘POMO Position’. When tired the coach will invariably fall back on well used stock phrases and if you don’t hear a call for a bit more fight in the game you’re in the wrong place (it should be noted that it is required by league regulations for the coach to moan about the opponents long ball tactics no matter what tactics they are employing. Phrases such as ‘come on they’re only booting it forward’ will come in particularly handy).

Enough merriment however. What I am trying to convey is that the game on a Sunday is played with a sense of fun so sadly missing in many areas of sport these days. Yes everybody wants to win but it is not the end of everything if you don’t. So go along to your local side this Sunday and offer your support (it’s always good to have a ‘crowd’), and if you feel the inclination try and join the side. There are hundreds to choose from – somebody must need you.

Michael Casey

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 1st, 1992 at 12:00 am and appears under Archive. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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