Dickiebliss’s Blog

The Kickers – 2013 Futsal champions?
May 16, 2013, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here they come  – the champions, the invincibles, the undefeated, sweeping all before them in a deluge of goals… the one and only Kickers! These boys have become Wednesday night legends – each one a household name – why here’s prime mover Rich Kirk notching another couple of goals to add to his bulging tally and burgeoning reputation. Over there is Robert Sherratt helping himself to more goal glory with a close range (albeit scuffed) finish. And if I’m not mistaken isn’t that Paul Andrews the (almost forgotten) Kicker , missing since the first game but now back for the final chapter to ensure he doesn’t miss out on all the fun, spraying passes around the pitch like he’s never been away. Not forgetting Azza Barwick, Andy Hoole , Mike Ewen…so many names inspiring so many memories. All the gang are here! And what better way to finish this title winning season than by cruising to yet another victory….

Full time: The Kickers 3 – 0 East Rangers

Except…that isn’t really what occurred last Wed night last…IS IT LADS?!

No, what really happened can only be described as a shambles, a travesty, a mockery of a sham of a performance spiralling out of control to a previously unimaginable 3 – 9 defeat! I’ll type that again (and embolden for good measure)…3-9! 

How did this happen? Did the Kickers just take their eye off the ball having already been crowned champions? Or was it the fact that the game was played for the first and only time outdoors? Maybe the unfamiliar environment disorientated them? Certainly Tony Ward offered some elongated (and frankly dull) hypotheses post match along these lines. Something to do with space and confined field of vision. Alternatively was the awful truth just that the opposition were better (miles better) on the night? Well lets find out shall we but be warned, the following blog is less like the  X Files  with its “The truth is out there…” tag line and more like A Few Good Men and its “You can’t handle the truth!” refrain…

The scene of the crime was not, as previously mentioned, the sports centre indoor court but the outside 3G pitch due to exams or something (students eh?) bu the change of venue did not seem to be affecting the Kickers confidence which was bordering on arrogance pre-kick off. Only Rich Bayliss seemed to have some reservations about the quality of the opposition but then he always thinks everyone is better than him (and they are).

No – he doesn’t look like a dick ….OK?!

With a squad of 8 in attendance it was time for the “3 0n 3 off” rolling substitutes policy to rear its ugly head again. The understandably tentative  Andrews, Bayliss and Mike Ewen sat on the bench meaning a very strong looking starting line up of Sherratt, Hoole, Barwick Moore and Kirk. Only Tony Ward was missing due to injury but admirably and somewhat  bizarrely, Tone did turn up to offer encouragement dressed in full kit (why?). Well if its good enough for John Terry eh Tony?

The Kickers had not played East Rangers before – the first scheduled game against them had been awarded as a walkover to the Kickers as Rangers didn’t show up (bit like Man City in the FA cup final on Sat) and so were an unknown quantity. Certainly they had scored lashings of goals previously judging by their results posted on the Sportalise website (never a reliable source to be fair) and it soon became apparent that they were  a different class of outfit than the Kickers had seen before. .

12 months to the day later and Mancini was handed his P45 by the bloke on the right

The Kickers were  0-1 down faster than a disgruntled Man City fan could shout “Mancini out” (but not as fast as Sheikh Mansour eh Roberto?) but hey, this had happened before and they had always turned it around eventually. No biggie eh lads? Sure enough they were soon 2-1 up as the ever reliable Rich Kirk racked up  a quick fire brace. Cue the first wave of reinforcements and it all seemed to be going to plan. Paul Andrews was showing no signs of rustiness with a fine artillery of passing at his command and it was Paul who nearly made it 3-1 as his little dink of a finish came back off the underside of the crossbar when it had seemed goal bound.

Andy Hoole fired a snap shot narrowly wide and the Rangers keeper made a whole host of smart saves with every available extremity of his body. And yet, the Kickers were not on top, they were struggling when not in possession of the ball and didn’t seem able to pick up their runners under the glare of the floodlights. Unable to hold out until half time, the Kickers conceded two goals in quick succession with Moore being comprehensively beaten by well struck shots from outside the area.

Half time: The Kickers 2 – 3 East Rangers

A grey haired Tony Ward watches on from the sidelines as the Kickers chances of winning the game go up in smoke.

If the wheels on the Kickers machine had looked a bit wobbly before half time, they were rolling off down the road and the Kickers were left on their axels in the second half. Despite Barwick’s shout of wanting a big 5 minutes from his team mates as they kicked off, what he got was an appalling display of incompetency as the Kickers imploded. It wasn’t a case of  refusing to accept their mission impossible  – they had literally pressed the self destruct button.

Within those first 5 minutes they were 6-2 down and the game was effectively over. Worse than the scoreline, the lads had lost their discipline and there was definite dissent amongst the ranks, the biggest culprit being manager Gary Moore who was losing his head big time, raging against his team mates that they were “shocking” and “too far up the pitch” and “standing off too much” in a vain attempt to deflect the fact that he was having a mare of his own in goals. Only the  “calm down calm down” rhetoric  of scouser Mike Ewen ( ah dey do doe don’t dee?) stopped it spilling over into a full on meltdown.

Which one is Mike though?

The Mike Ewen effect nearly brought dividends as the Kickers remembered they were meant to be a football team as first Andy Hoole struck a post and then Ewen himself nearly scored a pearler with a shot direct from a restart that just cleared the bar. The diminutive Rangers keeper was having the game of his life stopping everything David de gea style with everything but his hands. Eventually the Kickers managed to scramble a goal in as a Rich Kirk cut back from the byeline arrived at Sherratt’s feet two yards out and he managed to scuff his effort off both goalie and post and eventually just over the line. Even Robert looked embarrassed to have scored such an undignified goal.

A comeback? No chance…the Kickers contrived to let in another 3 goals before the ref finally put them out of their misery. It was chaotic, catastrophic, shambollic  and anything else you can think of that ends in -ic. There was even some last gasp frantic (enough already!) maths being done to ensure that the Kickers were actually the champions and could not be pipped to the title  by their victors. As it turned out they couldn’t and the Kickers were indeed the 2013 futsal champions but it couldn’t have felt less like it.

Full time: The Kickers 3 – 9

Scorers: Rich Kirk (2), Robert Sherratt

How they performed:

Gary Moore

Hello plot, meet Gary, he lost you tonight…Gary needed to be re-introduced to his senses after letting his emotions get the better of him. As the goals continued to fly past him, Gary’s frustration grew to epic proportions and spilled out all over the pitch in the form of a torrent of abuse at his colleagues perceived lack of ability. The truth was that Gary was as culpable as anyone and this was encapsulated in one incident when he tried to take matters into his own hands (or rather feet) by attempting to dribble the length of the pitch. Needless to say he was robbed by a Ranger who cooly lobbed a desperately back-pedalling Moore. The fact that Gary did in fact manage to catch the goal-bound attempt is not the point. Indeed, some of his team-mates were so fed up with his berating that they admitted after the game that they had secretly been hoping that it had been a goal just to teach Gary a lesson. Not your finest hour gaffer. 5/10


Richard Bayliss

Look, the guys 45 next month, he had a cartilage operation 2 years ago, his legs are shot and until The Kickers his footballing highlight had been playing for his school team’s 3rd XI (once). What do you expect from the guy? A half decent first 5 minutes was followed by a train wreck of a performance culminating in being at fault for one goal by losing possession from a Kickers corner. Destined to spend the night chasing shadows. How he managed to incur a bruised shin is a mystery seeing as he didn’t get close enough to make a tackle all evening. A chasing and chastening experience. Did I mention he’s nearly 45 though? 5/10


Mike Ewen

Turned his season around in the last two performances after being the butt of many a joke about his goal tally previously. Kept his head admirably during the debacle of the opening 5 minutes of the second half  and even deigned to pop it above the parapet to chance his arm (well his right foot) with a speculative curling long shot that would have been a contender for goal of the season (had it gone in). Mike once said that this blog cannot be relied upon as a trusted source of events as “the blog is permanent whilst the truth disappears”. Well the truth is Mike that you weren’t bad, not bad at all. 7/10


Aaron Barwick

The Kickers lose 3-9 yet its not Azza that goes into a full on Mr Angry meltdown? Maybe someone did slip him a spliff before kick off after all. Totally out- stropped by Gary Moore, Barwick managed to keep control of his emotions better than he did the ball. Maybe he was playing in a a daze, knocked for six by the news earlier in the day of Fergie’s decision to retire from Azza’s beloved Man Utd. Whatever the reason, turns out that the old adage about curbing the fire in a player inhibits his performance is true. 6/10


Paul Andrews

Paul – where have you been? Not spotted since the opening game of the season, Andrews finally made it back pitch-side to remind us all of  what we had been missing. With everyone losing their heads about the wonderful Rich Kirk in the intervening weeks between appearances, it was easy to forget all about how crucial to the Kickers Paul has always been. A bit like when Michael Owen burst on to the scene with Liverpool and everyone forgot about Robbie Fowler. Some fantastic composure and slide rule passing ensured Paul overshadowed all of his team mates including the previously lauded Kirk. Welcome back Paul – please don’t go away again. 8/10


Robert Sherratt

Seemed to spend most of the game dithering about in defence which definitely is not Robert’s natural position. Maybe he was trying to perform that much vaunted quarterback role – directing operations from the back and spraying “hollywood” balls all over the park. Unfortunately Sherratt was more quarter-pounder than quarterback. Even his “goal” was crap.  An uncomfortable performance all round . 6/10


Rich Kirk

Obviously identified before the game by the opposition as the man to stop, Rich was unable to remove himself from the shackles enforced by Rangers who doubled up on him at every opportunity. It had all started well enough with his two goal salvo early in the first half but his influence on the game waned in parallel with the fading daylight. Nobody could ever describe Rich as being just average but he was decidedly …well…below par. Well below. 6/10


Andy Hoole

Post match Andy admitted that he “hadn’t really turned up – sorry lads”. Think that says it better than anything Dickiebliss could say Andy. 5/10

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