Football has always been my number 1 passion. Mainly because, apart from a bit of science knowledge, the ability to sing in tune (well, to some ears…… Mainly my own 😏), a bit of guitar playing, drawing, being good with numbers, computers, statistics, oh and the ability to write side creasing lay funny stories 😳, it’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at. 😎
Despite having to wear glasses, I had managed to play for both my primary and secondary football teams. This was no mean feat, as every schoolteacher seemed to think, at any moment, my glasses were going to fly off my face and kill someone. When I was 15, I finally was approached to play for a Sunday League a division 2 side (ok, there were only 2 divisions, but it was a start! 😄). My friend, Bud Malone, had also been given a trial. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves lined up to play against Locharbriggs Social Club. I could kick the ball with both feet, so , I found myself on the left wing, with my pal Bud on the right.
it wasn’t long before we were in the thick of it. At one point we won a corner. I mulled around the penalty area in among a throng of hardened Sunday League players. They were all bigger, guile and hairier than I. This wasn’t at all like playing 2 a side in front of the flats on the drying green, or, playing kerby of a Sunday afternoon. Nope, the jostling, pushing and grabbing was all new to me. Welcome to Sunday League Football Dave. 😳
As the ball was lumped into the middle, I suddenly found myself in a tiny pocket of space. I looked up. The ball was heading right towards me. As it got closer I realised it had my name on it. I had dreamt of this day all of my young life. I was about to score my first ‘proper’ real goal, a goal that meant something, that would make the local newspaper, that would be recorded for posterity, that would…..BANG, the goalie had launched himself at the ball, missed it completely and taken me clean out.
As I lay crumpled in a heap on the floor, I consoled myself with the knowledge, I’d won a penalty. Would my team let the newbie take it or would my first goal celebration ( a triple back somersault with twist 😏) be taken away from me.
‘C’mon son. Get yersel up’
It was the Locharbriggs goalkeeper. I looked around. The ball was up the other end of the pitch. They had played on! How could he not award a penalty? It had been the stickiest on penalty EVER in the history of modern football.
‘….but…it was a penalty…..’
‘don’t be daft son, I hardly touched ye’
He pulled me up. My shirt was muddy. Welcome to Sunday League football indeed! I re-entered the game with the knowledge only a severing of a limb in the penalty box would result in a penalty award. Or maybe not 😳
I eventually gathered myself together and soon found myself on the left wing heading with the ball towards the right back. I turned one way, then the other, then nutmegged him neatly, taking the ball the other side of him, crossing it into the box, finding the head of one of our players. We were one nil up. This was easy.
The game to and fro’d. At 2-1, I found myself in exactly the same position. Left wing, on the ball, right back to beat, space behind, an opportunity, a chance, glory ahead with every step. So…….. I did it again……yes…..I slipped the ball through his legs, two nutmegs in a row, I was GOOD! I sauntered into the penalty box, ducked left, then right and curled the ball wide of the keeper. I’d done it. Scored my first Sunday League Goal. I was GOOD 😎
After being congratulated by my new teammates, on the way back to take centre, I suddenly heard a ‘HOY!’ It was the right back. This was nice, he was going to praise me for my great skills, which had left him sitting on his arse bereft of ideas, bereft of the ball.
‘You do that again and I’ll ******* have ye’
Ah, yes praise indeed. I wasn’t being congratulated on my Ronaldoesque skills, I was being threatened with GBH. I walked away feeling just a it scared. Luckily half time arrived quickly. I made a beeline for Bud……’
‘how do you fancy swapping sides in the second half. I’ll play right wing, you play left’
‘yeah ok. No bother’
I didn’t feel bad. Bud was safe…………😏
As we lined up to kick off the second half, I looked across the pitch. I’m sure the right back smiled and produced a rude sign. I smiled. You see, Bud maybe couldn’t dribble like I could, he maybe couldn’t nutmeg, twist, turn, chip, dribble and bamboozle defenders, but…….Bud could run like the bloody wind. Faster than a cheetah, he was like lightning. I stood in awe, as time after time Bud left my would be assailant for dead. As my new enemy floundered in Bud’s dust, he maybe wouldn’t have threatened me had he known Bud had just won the school 100 metres in a record time.
We won 4-3, I’d scored, I’d get my name in the paper, Bud had left flames in his wake as he scorched down the wing leaving my nemesis in his wake. It’d taught me that grown ups were scary, referees were blind, Bud was even faster than I’d realised, and, be careful what you wish for ☺️
‘#SoccerShorts The Sunday Nutmeg’was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and by Dodo Productions © 2015