Leeds Tournament – The Jules Rimet 50th Anniversary Walking Football Festival
The Leeds Tournament to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, to the day, of England winning the World Cup on 30th July 1966, took part at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds. Organised by Leeds Walking Football it turned out to be a well run day with 18 teams taking part in sunny weather.
In the Leeds Tournament there was 2 pools of 5 teams and 2 pools of 4 teams. Vintage Celtic were drawn in a group of 4 and played each team once with a double header against the strong Leeds Titans. The other 2 teams in the pool were Sheffield Vulcan and Seaton Carew.
Vintage Celtic’s first game was against old foes Leeds Titans and a goal for the Titans in the first few minutes proved to be the only goal of the game. So now it was going to be an uphill battle to qualify for the knock out stages.
Celtic’s second game was versus Seaton Carew and again Celtic were 0-1 down shortly into the game. However Celtic always looked the stronger side and a well taken goal by Pete Agar drew them level. A penalty was later awarded to Celtic and it was well drilled into the Seaton goal by captain ‘Shedders’. The final score remained 2-1 to Celtic and at last 3 points were in the bag.
The third game in the Leeds Tournament put Celtic up against a very physical Sheffield Vulcan. Again Celtic were 0-1 down but thanks to another penalty award ‘Shedders’ levelled the score for the match to finish 1-1.
The final game was a rematch with Leeds Titans and Celtic had to win this to finish top of the group. Unfortunately the Titans took an early 2 goal lead, so the task to score 3 goals against a very good side looked impossible. Hopes were raised when Stuart Greaves scored a splendid goal to reduce the deficit to 2-1 but Celtic were unable to increase the scoreline and this was the final result, so Celtic were out of a well fought and very physical tournament.
Celtic were drawn in the toughest group with the 2 finalists, Leeds Titans and the eventual winners Sheffield Vulcan coming from the group. The results in the knockout stages show how strong the group was with both Leeds Titans and the eventual winners, Sheffield Vulcan having comfortable victories against other group winners or runners up. In the league format Celtic drew with the winners Sheffield Vulcan and lost by the odd goal to runners up Leeds Titans, which perhaps puts into perspective, despite our self criticism, how close we are to becoming a force in walking football.
It was good to see our old friends from the recent Algarve Tournament, Clitheroe Walking Football Club, at the Leeds Tournament. To sum up, Celtic are not far from having a really good side, we have some really skillful players. Our main problem is at times we tend to lose our shape and if one fault is evident it is our failure to find space, at times we seem rather static.
The only option left to the players was to return to Stalybridge for the inquest and after match shandies. We look forward to next Saturday’s Cheshire Walking Football Summer Cup Festival at the Cheshire FA Headquarters in Northwich when hopefully Vintage Celtic can give a better account of themselves.
Thanks to all the lads who turned out, Pete Agar, Derek Drabble, Stuart Greaves, Colin Grimshaw, Paul O’Neil, John Parkinson, Lee Shedwick and Stan Turner. A special vote of thanks to Stan who turned out in goal due to the unavailability of our 2 regular keepers Ian Parker and Mike Kieran. Stan did well and didn’t let the side down on the day, with some excellent shot stopping.