FA People’s Cup Manchester – Certainly Not Walking Football
The FA People’s Cup Manchester on Saturday 25th February turned out to be a mixed day for Vintage Celtic with 1 win, 2 draws and a 1-0 defeat.
The day started off badly with teams hanging around for over an hour waiting for the fixtures and divisions to be announced. It all seemed pretty chaotic with the organisational side leaving a lot to be desired. Eventually half an hour after the tournament was supposed to start we got the information needed.
With 2 divisions of 5 teams, we were drawn in the division comprising Fit City Kickers, Man City, Middleton Legends and Tameside Striders. First up were Fit City Kickers who thanks to goals by Pete Smith and a penalty by ‘Shedders’ were despatched 2-0. The Kickers in their subsequent games looked tired and lethargic but they had plenty of energy when facing us. A short video of the game is here.
Next up were the Man City team, who were a quality side and a defensive mistake by Celtic gave them a 1-0 lead. Despite sharing possession we couldn’t force the goal needed to get back into the game and the sky blues kept their lead to win the game.
Tameside Striders were our third opponents and although we had the bulk of possession and showered shot after shot at him we just couldn’t get past their keeper. The guy had an excellent tournament and in my opinion certainly gained them a good few points. Although I didn’t see the other division’s keepers, he must have qualified for the goalkeeper of the tournament. The other Strider’s player who stood out was their number 10, but fortunately ‘Shedders’ kept him relatively quite. Pete Smith got his second of the day with a quickly taken free kick. The final score was a 1-1 draw.
Our old failure to score goals was our downfall once again in the FA People’s Cup Manchester tournament. Needing a win over the final opponents Middleton Legends to qualify for the semi-finals, we took the lead through a great ‘Shedders’ strike but couldn’t hold on to it and drew the game 1-1.
So what were the conclusions regarding this FA People’s Cup Manchester tournament? Well as we have said in the past, we should be only entering over 60’s competitions and let’s hope the FA make the competition both over 50’s and over 60’s next year. Having said that, whether we decide to enter it again is another matter. Also as mentioned we do not score enough goals in any tournaments we enter. We pass the ball around excellently but just miss the ability to put the ball in the net consistently.
This was certainly not walking football that was played today. The small guy up front for Middleton Legends was running consistently and was rarely pulled up for it. The tournament itself saw plenty of running and was quite physical at times. We were as guilty as any team and like the lads say, if that’s how they want to play it then we can give as good as we get. This was more like over 50’s 5-a-side than walking football. Caged pitches with barriers definitely make the game more physical, playing with proper touchlines cuts out all the pushing, barging and tackling from behind. The refereeing on Pitch 1 was not the best we have ever seen either. All in all a disappointing occasion considering it was an FA tournament.
A big thanks to the lads who turned out for the FA People’s Cup Manchester tournament, Pete Agar, Brian Coll, Colin Grimshaw, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, Lee Shedwick and Pete Smith. A special thanks to Paul O’Neil who graciously volunteered not to play and let the other six have more game time. Thanks Paul your gesture is appreciated as selection is never an easy job when trying to give players, especially of a similar standard, equal time on the pitch.
The inquest was held at our HQ, the Lord Stamford in Stalybridge and the verdict was that although we are a decent side, we are just not good enough, certainly in the over 50’s age category. We look forward to better organised and real walking football competition at the Greater Manchester Over 60’s Walking Football League and the Cheshire Walking Football League in March.