Dickiebliss’s Blog

The Kickers 2-1 Facility Falcons
April 5, 2011, 6:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The thing about football is that everyone has an opinion don’t they? For example, every football fan in the country believes they could  choose a better England team than Fabio Cappello (actually that’s a no-brainer  – anybody would do a better job than that pillock wouldn’t they?). Opinion is the bedrock upon which football is built. Without talking points and controversy our beloved game wouldn’t have the hold that it has over us all –  it would be as meaningless and predictable as …well…Scottish football.

Think of the controversial decisions and incidents down the years that we still talk about today – Maradona’s hand of God in ’86, Thierry Henry’s double handball for France against Ireland  and who could forget Frank Lampard’s goal that never was in last year’s World Cup. Add to this list the infamous Inglemire Lane handball affair that transpired last Friday when The Kickers went toe to toe with Facility Falcons. But more of that later…..

After last week’s cancellation due to lack of interest, The Kickers were back on the glory trail with the exciting news of a return to fitness of one of this year’s stars. No…it’s not an ahead-of-schedule comeback from surgery for Richard Bayliss -surely we’ve all had enough of hearing about him and his bleeding knee this season haven’t we? (Ahem…I think you’ll find Andy Thompson has copyright on bleeding knees your honour- Kickers legal team). No…much better than that…we proudly announce the return of the one, the only BLAKE….GEORGE (who?)…MACE !!!! (oh right- it’s his middle name). Out since before Xmas with a niggling calf injury, Blake declared himself fit much to the delight of manager Gary Moore. For every fit player though there is always an absentee and this week’s empty boots belonged to Robert Sherratt who was not only failed to turn up but didn’t even give a reason. Poor…very poor.

Paul Andrews arrives - note Tony Ward hiding inside the knight's armour. Well he was marking Faz!

With it looking like The Kickers would only just have the requisite 6 players, in scenes reminiscent of Mr Benn’s shopkeeper, Paul Andrews suddenly appeared (hurray!). With Gary Thompson volunteering to be sub, the new trio of Andrews, Mace and Andy Hoole started for The Kickers. Those of you who have been avidly following the team’s fortunes, the words Facility and Falcons can only mean one thing – FAZ!!! Yes the huge, often unplayable, colossus was once again in the Falcons ranks which meant a heated discussion as to which Kickers defender would have to try and mark him. Andy Thompson, the Kickers hard man, seemed the obvious choice but no…Not for the first time, up stepped Tony Ward, officially confirmed recently by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest man ever to play football, to volunteer. Assistant Manager Bayliss (not him again) had turned up to support and was placed in charge of the stopwatch. By his side was injured reserve keeper Wayne Thompson with his bad back but also plenty of vocal encouragement.

And so to the action…a cautious opening with both sides sizing each other up gave  no hint of the drama to come. Indeed for the first five minutes, the most exciting incident to happen was the need for some of the Falcons players to don bibs as their assorted shades of blue kit was making it hard for The Kickers to pick each other out. Fortunately there were no wardrobe malfunctions as suffered by the unfortunate Mario Balotelli the other week.

Click below to see not-so-Super Mario Baloltelli as he struggles to put his bib on – this guy makes Wayne Rooney look like Brian Cox

But the Kickers were doing most of the pressing and the chances started to arrive. Andy Hoole rose unmarked to meet an Andrews chipped cross with his head that just looped over the bar and then Blake Mace displayed some lack of match practice by scuffing a shot wide when he really should have done a lot better.

What’s that *Debbie? Too harsh you say? Ah well now, miraculously Dickiebliss has managed to capture this one on camera so click below and you’ll see that this blog never makes claims it cannot substantiate – proceed with cation though – it’s not Blake’s finest moment.

*Debbie is an avid Blake fan who has taken issue with some of the ratings he has received at the hands of Dickiebliss

The shame of a pending bad review seemed to galvanise Blake though and he was soon forcing Dickiebliss to swallow his words as he expertly put The Kickers in front. Andy Hoole picked up a loose ball on the left of the box and launched it back across goal where a waiting Paul Andrews cushioned a lay-off perfectly into the path of the on-rushing Mace. As the ball dropped Blake guided a finish into the corner of the net. What a goal! What a guy!

An artist's impression of the inside of Paul Andrews brain moments before scoring

With the Falcons struggling to get their game going (much to the annoyance of Faz), The Kickers saw an opportunity to put some daylight between them and their opponents. When it came it was a bit of magic from sorcerer supreme Paul Andrews who conjured a goal from nothing. Racing onto a through ball their appeared to be little danger but Paul’s acceleration took him clear of the defence and as the Falcons keeper came out, Andrews sidestepped his challenge but was forced wide of goal. Surely the angle was too tight to score  from there? Proving that he had paid attention at school, Paul did the math and calculated the precise trajectory needed to deliver an inch-perfect drive into the far corner of the goal. Brian Cox eat your heart out…

Half-time: The Kickers 2-0 Facility Falcons

Having shackled Faz magnificently, the second half saw Tony Ward being given a rest with Gary Thompson relieving him in defence. The wise sage that he is (it comes with age), Tony shouted at his team-mates “No need to chase the game — we’re winning”  – you see, you just can’t buy that sort of insight can you? Mr Capello please take note.

Gaz Thompson was soon on the end of some more instructive advice this time bellowed by younger bruv Wayne – something about having to drop deep to get goal side of Faz (these youngsters and their youth-speak). Our Gaz was struggling to keep Faz in check and was soon clinically exposed as the fearsome striker belted a shot beyond the late-diving Gary Moore after Gaz failed to clear a bouncing ball in the Kickers penalty box. 2-1 game on.

Nick Clegg the footballer - apparently he described England's World Cup bid as "unbeatable" shortly before we were eliminated in the first round of voting. Is there anything this man doesn't get wrong?

The Kickers of yesteryear would have panicked and folded after such a setback, but this new vintage simply shrugged their collective shoulders and went straight down the other end in a move which culminated in an Andy Hoole shot striking the crossbar. Blimey! Andy was soon in the thick of it again as he chased after a through ball and found himself the filling in a Falcons keeper/defender sandwich. A winded Andy was replaced by Tony Ward who, spotting his chance for glory like Nick Clegg eyeing his ounce of government power, sprinted into the departed  striker’s berth. Kickers leader Gary Moore soon saw the pure folly of such a move and administered a cabinet reshuffle that saw Tony re-positoned to the back benches of defence.

And then…the incident that defined the game and that will dwarf all other events that afternoon in the memories of those who witnessed it…A Falcons corner was whipped in by Faz and spun off Gary Moore straight into the path of an on-rushing opposition striker who converted from virtually on the goal-line. As Assistant Manager Bayliss clutched his head in his hands in despair on the touchline, the Kickers on field players, led by an incandescent- with- rage Moore, were calling foul play. “Handball!! He put it in with his hand!!” fumed Gary.

Wise old man Tony Ward gets involved in the debate

With no ref available to adjudicate a panto-style oh-no-he-didn’t-oh-yes-he-did farce ensued. Wayne Thompson and Bayliss confirmed neither had caught the incident on camera (Bayliss has yet to capture any of The Kickers 16 goals so far this season – what did you expect?). Finally the matter was resolved by the Falcons keeper who had had enough and decreed that it was a Kickers free-kick for handball just to shut the moaning “a***holes” up. Not very charming but it was effective and the game could finally re-start with The Kickers still 2-1 up.

The game was played out in a confrontational atmosphere after this with the bad feeling threatening to spill over more than once. Gary Moore retained his focus enough to repel a goal-bound Faz effort late on and with that The Kickers were home and dry. And so it came to pass that one man’s opinion (the thoroughly hacked off Falcons keeper) determined the fate of this pulsating encounter. As Oscar Wilde once said…”In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane”. Long may the madness continue….

Full-time The Kickers 2-1 Facility Falcons

Scorers: Blake Mace, Paul Andrews

How they performed

Gary Moore: Will be remembered mostly for his prolonged discussion with Faz and the rest of the Facilities boys as to the laws of the game appertaining to handball. For the record, FIFA rules state that it is a “direct kick foul” if a player (other than the goalkeeper inside his own penalty area) deliberately handles the ball. However, a hand ball foul should not be called if the player did not deliberately touch the ball but the ball hit his arm & he did not move the arm toward the ball (however, if the player’s arms were in an unnatural position such as above his shoulders or sticking out to the sides, then he should be called for a handball). That clears that up then. Also for the record, Gary pulled off a number of decent saves and generally looked reliable (unlike the testaments of either side trying to prove it was/wasn’t handball). 7/10

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Bob Wilson – safe pair of hands

Gary Thompson: And onto Dickiebliss’s favourite easy target – Thompson the elder. (Sound of tutting) …Gary…Gary…Gary…do you think if you say his name three times and click his football boots together he’ll disappear? Ooh… way too harsh…probably. Gaz was charged with nullifying the threat of Faz in the second half but it seemed like an ask too far early on. As rigid as the Michael Jackson statue down at Fulham, Gary was repeatedly caught out by the quick movement of the moon-walking Faz. And yet…Gary didn’t fold completely and managed to, if not contain his nemesis, at least irritate him by the end. Performed one perfectly timed interception on the big man. 7/10

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Alan Shearer –  as stiff as those starched shirts he always wears

Andy Thompson: Strangely subdued performance by The Kickers resident tough guy. Some uncharacteristic loss of possession combined with an inability to stay on his feet* seemed to define Andy’s afternoon. However he never flinched in the face of a challenge and showed exemplary positional discipline when others around him went wandering. 7/10

* see clip at the end of the blog

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Mick McCarthy – dour, gruff, no-nonsense analysis – will call a goalkeeper a “tart” if necessary

Tony Ward: Seemed genuinely perturbed by Bayliss’s tales of knee surgery before kick-off but didn’t let this put him off standing up to and indeed in the way of Faz with relish. Did magnificent job of shackling the big man and was sorely missed when he took a deserved breather at half time. Re-introduced to the fray late doors to shore up the defence to great effect. Apparently Tony coaches a children’s team in his spare time. We’re hoping he has a bit more insight to offer his young charges than his “we’re winning” comment as the 2nd half began. That’s up there with “If it had gone in, it would have been a goal” (Barry Davies), “I couldn’t settle in Italy. It was like living in a foreign country.” (Ian Rush) and Dickiebliss’s personal favourite “He dribbles a lot and the opposition don’t like it – you can see it all over their faces.” (Ron Atkinson). 9/10 Man of the Match

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Garth Crooks – still on TV after all these years despite talking a load of balls

Blake Mace: A rejuvenated Blake was full of running and took his goal beautifully. Had so much spring in his step he was like a frolicking lamb with the blossoms in full bloom. Felt the Bayliss hook around his neck in the second half as he began to tire but so irrepressible was Blake that he had to be allowed back on the pitch before he literally wet himself with excitement. How did The Kickers ever manage without him? More of the same next time please Blake – except the potential for soiling your shorts. 8/10

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Jamie Redknapp – the pundit’s poster boy

Paul Andrews: Consummate performance and the only player (bar keeper Moore) to play every minute of the game. The thing about Paul is that he never panics when in possession – he just can’t help but use the ball well – its that pure footballing instinct within him. Much in the same way that Wayne Rooney just can’t help himself when he sees a pitch-side camera – it brings out his intrinsic urge to unleash a torrent of foul language that proves he really is that illiterate, pig-thick, ignorant scouse scally that we all know him to be. Just one complaint Paul – those red socks really didn’t go with the rest of the kit. 8/10

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Geoff Stelling – The Master

Andy Hoole: Another impressive display from Andy. Showed great endeavour and was unlucky not to get the goal his industry deserved. Despite not hitting the target this time, he looks like the most naturally-gifted goalscorer The Kickers have ever had. One of the most natural goal-scorers of recent years has to be Robbie Fowler (128 goals for Liverpool alone). Robbie of course is also famous for his cocaine-sniffing goal celebration where he appeared to hoover up the white line of the penalty area with his not unsubstantial nose. The Kickers are yet to witness any such extreme goal celebration from Andy – to be fair those bits of rubber on the 3G pitch wouldn’t half clog up your nostrils – oh so that’s what those nasal strips Robbie used to favour were for! 8/10

If he was a football pundit/broadcaster he would be: Gary Lineker – silky smooth presenting skills and totally unflappable (except for his ears)

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