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Match One - Euros .v. The Haugue 'A'
Our first game on grass (would have been the second but Adrian, Graham & Martin did not find the coffee shop until after the tournament had ended) and the game was tighter than Chris Cook paying for JB on a Wednesday night.
With the mud, grass and a well organised Den Haag team the Euros struggled to play their usual brand of total football. The team lacked its passing confidence and tried unsuccessfully to play the game through the middle. The crowd seemed surprised to find the strike partnership was not full of the rugged running and defending from the front that the Dutch expected to see from English teams playing in Europe. This was rectified when the crowd were informed that the last time Graham & Qasar had ran for anything, other than last orders (in the case of Graham) or passport control (for Qasar), England had just won the world cup – and the ball did cross the line.
At half time with the score level at 0-0 the half time talk mentioned the merits of displaying the traits that makes Britain the envy of the world – the Bulldog spirit. The same Bulldog spirit that increases international goodwill whenever we support our football teams abroad. Luckily with Lammie on crutches the girls in the opposing team were safe from aggression.
A surge from midfield by Adrian brought about the turning point of the game. He skipped past one, twisted by another and with a pirouette and a one and a half forward somersault (took the gold medal in the gymnastics), won a penalty from a vicious challenge that would have dislodged a blade of grass on any football pitch.
This led to the second English football scandal breaking. After the national team’s betting scandal came the sweepstakes scandal – who let Qasar take the penalty when obviously Martin is the most natural penalty taker we have (I didn't have Martin in the sweepstakes, honest)?
Although a somewhat controversial penalty was given it did allow the Dutch to show their mastery of the English language, to quote one player, “he f*cking dived”.
This broke their spine and the Euros went on to win the game without being unduly pressured.
Match Two - Euros .v. Rotterdam
Rotterdam were always going to struggle against the Real Madrid (not only have we emulated their feat of winning the first three European Cups but also some of our senior players were just starting their footballing careers) of the Artis competition and without the presence of Regi Blinker were up against it from the start. Did not manage to play with the same heart as when playing in the derby game and were soundly beaten.
After the first couple of goals went in they were flat on their backs (a bit like a couple of our lads in an area with a distinctly red tinge on the Saturday night).
Match Two - The Hague 'A' .v. The Hague 'B'
Thies should have been Den Haag against London but for the fact that the cockney gits did not turn up. Speculation is rife that this will lead to the team being banned from European competition and being replaced by a team from Barcelona (the Euros favoured replacement) or a team from Falmouth (not so favoured – who wants Cornish inbreds playing? Although, it will give Simon Mitchell a chance to catch up with his family).
A close match and the only thing that separated the two teams was the second contentious refereeing decision of the day. The referee following advice from his linesman, sorry assistant referee, awarded a penalty. The rules were consulted after the game and apparently a mistake was made by the linesman Qasar who did not realise that you cannot award a penalty when there has been no foul. However, as we have to encourage officials from the lesser footballing nations (!) the matter was overlooked.
Third Place Play Off - The Hague 'B' .v. Rotterdam
This was the Manchester United v Bayern Munich game of the tournament. It had everything from a winner with the last kick of the game to a player from Den Haag complaining (typical Dutch temperament!) about the opposition full back playing in industrial footwear and having metal toecaps. This problem was expertly resolved by the referee asking the player to avoid kicking the winger – luckily, he was given such a roasting by the winger that he could not get close enough to kick him anyway.
The Final - The Euros .v. The Hague 'A'
As happens in all the great stadia around the world from the Stadium of Light to the Nou Camp, Maracana and ECFC St James Park once the clock hit 5pm all play ceased. Luckily, The Euros were declared winners and in theory should keep the trophy for winning the tournament (that is unless the sneaky Dutch again show that they have scouse blood in them).
Goal of the Tournament: Simon Mitchell with a left footed volley that showed he can use the foot other than for just standing on.
Cross of the Tournament: Dave Starkey - we all know that was bloody cross.
Find of the Tournament: The brother of Ross - we now realise that our squad contains the runt of the litter rather than the stronger sibling.
Dutch Player of the Tournament: The girl up front for The Hague. Chosen as much for cosmetic reason as for the intelligent running shown. Obviously a sexist criteria but if you have to spend every Wednesday watching the flowing locks of John Butler running down the line then you would not have expected to see anyone else more attractive in football.