Vintage Celtic CWF Spring League 2017 Champions
Vintage Celtic CWF Spring League 2017 Champions made it 2 winners trophies in 6 days for the bluevints. Competing in the Cheshire Walking Football League Championship Division for the first time, Vintage Celtic Over 60’s came out winners by 4 clear points over nearest rivals Crewe Alexandra.
We had regulars Brian Coll, Paul O’Neil (nicknamed the intimidator on the Northgate Rovers website), and Eric Williams missing from this session of the Spring League but it was good to see Dave Hardy back in action after his millionaire lifestyle worldwide cruise.
Leading the division by 3 points prior to Thursday’s final Spring league session, it was never a formality that we would make it 2 trophy wins in 6 days and become Vintage Celtic CWF Spring League 2017 Champions. In fact due to our abysmal start it began to look highly unlikely.
Once again we suffered from first match syndrome in the game against Northgate Rovers. Passes were going astray, we were holding on to the ball too long and being caught in possession. Some suicide passes across the middle of the defence would have been punished had the Northgate team fielded a decent striker. In their defence our lads did say that the pitch was playing very slow and took time to adjust to.
Stuart Greaves, injured and not available to play, turned up to give his support on the day and was highly amused by Derek Drabble’s and my own repeated shouts of FFS, when we gave the ball away or made a bad pass. Your support was appreciated and at times did I hear the same statement from you Stuart?
In the event this first game finished in a 0-0 draw and it was hoped we would improve in the next match against nearest rivals Crewe Alexandra, who were now 4 points behind but a game in hand. It was imperative that we didn’t lose, as to do so would mean the title would be Crewe’s to lose.
Our performance in this encounter was much improved and to be honest we never looked like losing. In fact we had a few decent chances to secure the 3 points. The best was a glaring miss by Keith Whitmore. Keith, playing in defence, found himself up front with only the keeper to beat. He sent the keeper diving the wrong way with an excellent feint, rounded him and with an empty net facing him then hit the ball wide of the post.
This was highly frustrating at the time as it would have left us with a 7 point advantage and meant we couldn’t be caught. After the event it is an incident I will drink out on many times in the future and possibly may recall with Keith from time to time. No wonder my head of dark hair is beginning to show signs of turning grey.
This crucial match finally finished in another 0-0 draw and was our eighth in succession in competitive league walking football. It meant we still had a 4 point advantage over Crewe with one game to play so the situation was a win for Celtic would make them champions even if Crewe won their final 2 matches. Normally we would have played 4 games in this league session but 1874 Northwich failed to field a team, so the other remaining 4 teams were all given a 1-0 walkover result over Northwich.
Celtic’s final game was versus Neston Nomads and our continuing improvement gave us the majority of possession but still we couldn’t find the net. The closest we came to scoring was a thunderous shot by Keith Burrows that hit the crossbar.
With 5 minutes to go before the final whistle, and just another point looking likely, plus the possibility of Crewe winning their final 2 games to beat us to the title by 1 point, the situation was saved by Barry Whitmore. Barry, never a striker as he will readily admit, beat the Neston keeper with a great goal from a very narrow angle.
We played out the remaining minutes and Barry had saved the day for us as we now couldn’t be caught. So it made Vintage Celtic CWF Spring League 2017 Champions. In the event Crewe were beaten 1-0 by Northgate Rovers in their second game but still gave us some nervous moments on the day.
Looking at Vintage Celtic’s results in this Cheshire Walking Football League and the Greater Manchester Walking Football Over 60’s League, I discovered Celtic had gone on a 29 match unbeaten run in the combined leagues.
I took a call from Pep Guardiola today, who asked what was the secret was to achieving such an unbeaten run and how we had won 2 trophies in 6 days. Of course you never give away trade secrets but I did say money wasn’t the answer. I advised him to make sure his players didn’t over indulge in alcohol and went to bed the same day they got up.
Thanks to all the 13 lads who contributed to this campaign that made Vintage Celtic CWF Spring League 2017 Champions. In alphabetical order Tom Burns, Keith Burrows, Brian Coll, Derek Drabble, Gordon Fenton, Stuart Greaves, Dave Hardy, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, Riddy Walker, Barry Whitmore, Keith Whitmore and Eric Williams.